India is the largest producer of movies. Bollywood, Kollywood, Tollywood and other regional cinema industries together produce more movies than any other nation in the world. It is no secret that many actresses in the film industry have been a victim of sexual harassment. Some actresses have boldly spoken up against casting couch and harassment.
Not long ago, #MeToo movement made the national headlines which exposed some popular names including directors, actors from several fields from every nook and corner of the country.
With feminism and women empowerment becoming the most-talked subjects now, actresses have become more open about prevalent issues. With the MeToo movement encouraging several female actresses to share their ordeal of sexual abuse at the workplace, the film industry is also no exception.
On the contrary, it is not that easy to survive in the film industry. At times, female models will have to pay attention or listen to the director’s words to get a role in movies.
There have been many instances where directors have told the actresses to do inappropriate stuff in order to get a role. Some directors stooped to a low and have asked sexual favours from female models.
Recently, in an interview, Ankita Lokhande disclosed her casting couch experience. The Pavitra Rishta actress said: “I was so smart, I was alone in that room and was 19 or 20 years old, and asked him, ‘Which type of compromise does your producer want? Do I have to go for parties or dinners?’”
She also made it clear that she wanted to get rid of a situation where she was asked outright to ‘sleep with the producer’. She said, “And the moment he said it, maine uski band baja di thi (I took him to task).
I told him, ‘I think your producer wants a girl to sleep with, not a very talented girl to work with.’ And I left from there. He then apologised and said he will try to take me in his film. But I said, ‘If you try and take me in also, I’m not interested in your film’.”
Ankita Lokhande also spoke about the second incident. “When I got back again into films, I felt it again, just shaking hands with that person. I don’t want to take names, he was a big actor.
I got those vibes, and I quickly got my hands away from him. I knew it, ab mera yahaan nahi hoga (it will not work out for me), because it is a give and take thing. I understood and I left from there because it was not for me.”