Ekta Kapoor recently made some very interesting comments when she appeared on Mirror Now’s show ‘The Town Hall’ with The Lunchbox’s Nimrat Kaur and host Barkha Dutt.
When asked if a ‘Harvey Weinstein’ situation is present in the Indian entertainment industry, she said that:
“Well, I think there are Harvey Weinsteins in Bollywood, but there is probably an equal number of Harvey Weinsteins on the other side of the story, but people do not want to talk about that part. Yes, there are people in power like producers who use their power to take advantage of people, but at the same time there are people on the other side, like an actor or others who need the job, would also use their sexuality to get things done. Therefore, I believe that predators should not be put in a box based on power. It is always not true that the person who does not have power is the victim.”
Basically, she brought forth a rarely talked about angle where even the struggling actor can be in a pursuing position and it is not always the powerful person who is the assaulter.
Kapoor brings forward an interesting opinion. But is there any base to such kind of thoughts except rumour mills of who slept their way up?
We generally have drawing room conversations about how some actors are ready to go to any lengths in order to get work and become famous, even if it means sleeping with someone in power.
Casting Couch In Bollywood
We all know that casting couch is a terrible reality of the entertainment industry, the latest being the kidnapping and assault of Malayalam film actress but what really shocked us was the arrest of popular Mollywood actor Dileep for allegedly organizing it all.
Even Amit Behl, the joint secretary of the Cine and TV Artists Association based in Mumbai has commented on the rampant sexual harassment prevalent in the film industry and he has noticed that people are talking about it more. The association has gotten over 50 formal complaints about sexual harassment in the last 2 years which is a big increase from the previous 12 complaints in the 3 years before that.
But there is surely another side to casting couch where the actor is the one approaching in hope for some work.
The Other Side Of The Story
Kangana Ranaut, a major Bollywood star now, has even according to some sources said that she engaged in sexual acts in order to get work when she was just starting out as an actor.
She also stated that almost every Bollywood heroine has at one point or another slept with her male hero to get work in their films. (‘All Top Actresses Slept with Heroes’)
In a sting operation by India TV for their show India’s Most Wanted, Shakti Kapoor allegedly said that almost everyone has to sleep with the powerful people at least once to make their mark. Apparently, he took names of Rani Mukherji who according to him slept with either Yash Johar or Chopra, Aishwarya Rai who was close to Subhash Ghai and even Preity Zinta who he said slept with Yash Johar.
Sherlyn Chopra has also stated in a tweet that she has slept with people in the past for money but is no longer doing that.
There have even been rumours about male actors giving sexual favours in order to get their break. Siddharth Malhotra apparently has rumours floating around him of how he was in a relationship with Karan Johar before his debut and Ranveer Singh too has had such gossip about him.
Singh, in one of his interviews, at least has been honest about having experienced casting couch, but according to him he told the guy no and did not yield.
As we can see, without verifiable claims, it would be extremely harmful to the names involved to be accused of such horrible accusations.
Till now, we only have grapevine and Chinese whispers to bank on, as if it is some closely guarded insider secret known only to the people in the industry.
There is no denying that such stuff happens, as practically every profession has both kinds of people, those who exploit their position of power to get sexual favours and those who use their physical assets in order to get ahead in their career.
Wherever there is money and power there will be people who use their sexuality to grow in their career.
But in the meantime, it would be terribly wrong to malign the image of actors with such claims and in doing so is shifting the blame from the powerful party to the one that is just trying to make it in a ruthless industry.
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