You know which the best period of time for women in the field of acting was? It was back in the time when women’s roles were done by young men. That’s right. From the time women started acting they have been made to feel that they are intruders. The best way to do that, as always, was sexual exploitation. From Hollywood to Bollywood women actors are united by the system called ‘casting couch’. Ouch! Did it hurt? Are you pretending like the rest of the film world that casting couch never existed?
That is what happens every time a woman calls out sexual harassment in film industry. Everyone has an arched-eyebrowed, shocked expression and says ‘How, when, what? It cannot be’. I don’t know if it is a good thing or not, but surely nobody gets ‘shocked’ about rape. Not anymore. These days people act shocked only when the accused is a celebrity or an activist who is supposedly ‘progressive’. And yet something as prevalent as ‘casting couch’ has shock value. I feel it is high time we left the actors alone and turned to those who spring into action to feign ignorance after every accusation. Let us talk about those people who are ever so eager to support the accused and blame the victim right after she speaks out.
When Dibakar Banerjee was accused of sexual harassment, by Payal Rohatgi, Anurag Uncle came to his rescue. I think he kind of likes it because he did the same with TarunTejpal too. Uncle was last seen sharing on social media phone number of a female journalist who was doing her job. To Rohatgi’s accusation he said, ‘I stand by Dibakar. Among this generation of directors, not a single director will cast anyone just because he gets to have sex with that person. None of them would ever compromise with the integrity of their films,’ Err..who are these directors of Banerjee’s generation and when did Anurag uncle interview every single one of them? Oh by the way, a woman accused one of Kashyap’s partners at Phantom films of sexual harassment later. So…yeah.
Do you remember the time when Aman Yatin Verma was caught in what the media called a ‘trap’. I still haven’t figured out how sending women as ‘bait’ to expose sexual harassment is journalism. In fact that in itself is sexual harassment. So once the actor was thus ‘exposed’, a brigade of film industry men called a press conference to say the most ridiculous things.
Salman Khan, who later in his career used rape as a metaphor, and already has domestic abuse allegations against him, proclaimed, ‘In my 15-year film career, I have never heard of anything such as a casting couch.’ Oh! Okay. Have you thought why? Why would any woman talk about it to listen to this from people like you. People like you who can get away with any sort of crime, even murder. Arbaaz Khan echoed Salman Khan when he said ‘Have you ever heard, in the last 70 years, that a casting couch exists in our industry? Have you heard of such a case registered against anybody?’ Dude, you have not even been on planet earth for 70 years. What is wrong with you!
The best part came from actor-ex MP Govinda. ‘Aman Verma would have married that Ruchi. His lust could have turned into love, and for all you know he would have tied the knot with her’, he said. I believe that he is the grandfather of this judge who proclaimed that the woman could marry the man who raped her.
Censor Board fame, Pahlaj Nihalani
Yet another comment was from Pahlaj Nihalani. ‘If you need a role in films, you need to go to producers or directors and not actors. So why was this girl going to actors and not producers?’ I’ll tell you why. In your profession, roles are offered by actors, directors, producers, make-up artists, costume designers, lyricists and practically everyone so that they can get sexual favours from these aspiring actors. I don’t blame you. When you are busy censoring films and making videos for Narendra Modi, it is a little difficult to think. More so when you don’t have brains in the first place.
When actor Tisca Chopra spoke about her experience, it was called ‘hilarious’. Yes, she was laughing all the time and everyone who were listening to it was laughing but that does not mean that what she is talking about is hilarious. In fact I could not even smile a bit listening to her experience. It was violence, only she had survived it. Her account and the way she spoke about it just shows how normal casting couch is in the film world and that is what the problem is.
So people, let me tell you what to do. First, you need to shut up. Then you need to f**k off. Media can stop using the word ‘shocking’ altogether. If you still haven’t got it, when someone speaks about casting couch, they don’t give two hoots about what you felt because, naturally it is about how they felt. Nobody cares if you believe them or not. And isn’t it strange that none of these self-proclaimed warriors of Bollywood said a thing when male actors spoke about casting couch? Ranveer Singh did, Ayushmann Khurana did. Different rules for different sexes eh?