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.
Surveen Chawla says she faced casting couch ‘a lot’ in South film industry
Surveen Chawla made her debut on television with Kahin To Hoga (2003) and then later featured in Kasautii Zindagii Kay (2004) and Kaajjal (2006). She also turned up in the reality dance show Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena (2008), hosted Comedy Circus Ke SuperStars.
In fact, she also featured in many films. She went on to add saying that she had to face casting couch quite a lot from the South Indian film industry. During a new interview, Surveen disclosed that she was body-shamed during her first film meeting in Mumbai.
She was also warned that she would not get roles as she weighed 56 kgs. Meanwhile, during an interview with RJ Siddharth Kannan, she was inquired if she was body-shamed about her weight and told that would not get roles.
Surveen replied, “Ya this was actually my first film meeting in Bombay that I went for. So I was doing television and then I went for this first meeting. You know it’s their job to kind of get you in the space where you question yourself. And this happens to most women also where their appearance is questioned, their weight is questioned, what is your waist size is questioned, what is your chest size is questioned.”
“It’s just insane. What are the parameters for being here? What are they? It was a period where it, alongside all the casting couch that went on with it and then a lot from the south (film industry) actually and it was quite a difficult period…It was there but I don’t think those are not the right parameters that define you or make you believe or disbelieve on where you want to be or where you are at,” she added.