Malayalam actress shares shocking casting couch experience

Several actresses in the Indian film industry have been a victim of sexual harassment. Time and again, the actresses have spoken up against casting couch and harassment. Previously, #MeToo movement hit the headlines which exposed some popular names from several professional fields across the country.

With feminism and women empowerment becoming the most-talked subjects, actresses have become more open about prevalent issues. With the MeToo movement encouraging several women to share their ordeal of sexual abuse at the workplace, the film industry is also no exception.

Casting couch is something that has been happening behind the scenes and it is not at all a new concept rather it is as old as our civilization. People started noticing it very recently. Several actresses have been a victim of harassment in the Film Industry as well.

The casting couch is a practice of asking sexual favours from a job applicant in exchange for a job in the entertainment industry, especially acting roles. 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.

Malayalam actress Malavika Sreenath shares shocking casting couch experience

Malayalam actress shares shocking casting couch experience

Meanwhile, in an interview with a YouTube channel, Malavika Sreenath explained how she was sexually harassed during an audition for the role of Manju Warrier’s daughter in a film. Malavika echoed that she was groped by a man inside a room while auditioning for a film as per India Today.

Without disclosing the name of the movie or the harasser, the actor opened up how she faced harassment despite her mom and sister accompanying her to the audition.

“Casting couch is very much part of the film industry. I can say that I am a victim. I have not spoken about this before. Now, I can talk about this as I have a space in the industry. Three years back, I was called to audition for a role in a Manju Warrier film. The audition was for the role of Manju Warrier’s daughter. It was only later that I got to know that those who auditioned me were not part of the film. I was excited about getting a chance to work with Manju Warrier. I had no contacts in the film field. I could not check if the offer was genuine. My mom, I and sister were taken to the audition in an Innova.”

After auditioning for the role in a glass room, the actress was asked by the guy to adjust her hair in the dressing room. “While I was adjusting my hair in the room, he came and held me from the back. He was a big, tall man. We often say – ‘Why didn’t you react at that moment?’ or ‘Why didn’t you push the person and run?’ But at times, we are unable to react. We are paralyzed with fear. I was very young. When he caught hold of me, I began shivering. I tried to push him away with my elbow. Then the person said, ‘Malavika, if you give in, people will see you next as Manju Warrier’s daughter.’”

“He was taking advantage of my situation. He said, ‘You don’t need to do anything. Let your mom and sister sit outside. You just need to stand here for 10 minutes.’ I began crying. I did not know what to do. The person had a camera which he was using to shoot. I tried to knock down the camera from his hand. While he got distracted and tried to retrieve the camera, I ran out of the room crying. My mother and sister did not understand why I was crying. I ran out of the building and saw a bus on the road. I boarded the bus still in tears. I didn’t know where the bus was going. I cried a lot on the bus. I faced casting couch two-three times,” she added.