The casting couch is an unfortunate reality in Bollywood, and many actors have admitted to its existence. From Ranveer Singh to Kalki Koechlin, here are some actors who openly talked about experiencing the casting couch.
When Ranveer Singh was still looking for his big break in Bollywood, he had a first-hand experience of the casting couch. The actor told NDTV, “There was a very sleazy gentleman. He called me over to his house in Andheri. I made a very impressive portfolio, but this guy didn’t even look at it. He kept it aside and said, ‘You have to be smart. You have to be sexy.’ I was in complete shock. He had the gall to negotiate with me. He said, ‘We won’t do anything, just let me touch it.'”
Ranveer added that the man looked “heartbroken” when he refused and the actor later found out that he does this with everyone.
Ayushmann Khurrana may have carved a niche for himself in Bollywood now, but there was a time when he faced the casting couch. He told DNA, “I have been through that initially when I was part of the industry. I was a TV anchor, so a casting director directly told me that I would have to do it. So, I told him that if I was not straight, I might have given it a thought, but I can’t do it.”
Mamta Kulkarni accused director Rajkumar Santoshi of asking her for sexual favours during the shooting of China Gate. She also alleged that he chopped her role in the film.
The talented Kalki Koechlin admitted to the existence of the casting couch, although she added that ‘compromising’ would be of no help to an aspiring actor with no talent. Talking about her own experience, she told Savvy in an interview, “Of course, it exists! It did try and entangle me in its grip but I am slippery, I always managed to get out of it. The minute I felt uncomfortable, I walked away!”
Payal Rohatgi made headlines when she accused her “mentor” and director Dibakar Banerjee of misbehaving with her. Apparently, after she auditioned for his film Shanghai, he came over to her house and asked her to “lift her top.” The Khosla Ka Ghosla director denied her claims and said that she was maligning him just because he did not select her for his film.
The Taare Zameen Par actor opened up about not getting work after the debacle of her debut film. This was when a leading director-producer tried to take advantage of Tisca Chopra. She said that he called her for a meeting and when she went, he looked her up and down and said that she needs to learn how to ‘ooze.’ Tisca later found out that most of his leading ladies had to be his “bed squeeze” to land a role in his films. She got the role and everything went fine, till the outdoor shoot, where he asked her to “meet for dinner” in his room and “discuss the script.” However, she cleverly managed to get out of that situation.