Neena Gupta is a popular Indian actress and television director who plies her trade predominantly in Bollywood films and television. It is also worth mentioning here that she received several awards including 2 National Film Awards, 3 Filmfare Awards and 2 Screen Awards.
She is known for her work in both art-house and commercial movies. Notably, she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for portraying a young widow in Woh Chokri (1994).
In the year 2018, she saw career resurgence for featuring as a middle-aged pregnant lady in the comedy-drama Badhaai Ho, for which she clinched the Filmfare Award for Best Actress (Critics) and also received a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.
Neena Gupta shares her casting couch experience
The casting couch is a practice of asking for sexual favours from a job applicant in exchange for a job in the entertainment industry, especially acting roles. The casting couch originally referred to physical couches in the casting office. This practice is termed illegal in the United States.
Male casting directors, as well as, film producers use the casting couch in a bid to extract sex from ambitious actresses in Hollywood, Bollywood and other segments of the cinema industry.
Several actresses in the Indian film industry have been a victim of sexual harassment. Time and again, actresses have spoken up against the casting couch and harassment. Previously, #MeToo movement hit the headlines which exposed some popular names from several professional fields across the country.
As per Zoom report, Neena got a call from the producer, who worked in the south Indian film industry, to meet him. When the producer called her up to his room, she feared something was wrong in the first place.
“My basic instinct told me to not go upstairs. That I should ask him to come down to the lobby instead,” she wrote.
“‘So, what’s my role, sir?’ I asked him finally when he paused to catch his breath. ‘The heroine’s friend,’ he said. When he explained it to me, it seemed like a very small part. ‘Ok … I have to go now, sir’ I said, ‘My friends are waiting for me.’….’Go? Where? he asked. He seemed genuinely shocked. Aren’t you going to spend the night here?’ Suddenly, I felt like someone had just poured a bucket of ice water on my head. Khoon sookh gaya (My blood froze),” the actor wrote in her autobiography.