ME TOO: Casting couch is a controversial topic in the entertainment industry. Many celebrities time and again have come forward to share their casting couch experience in the industry. From Bollywood actress Zareen Khan to Tollywood star Anushka Shetty, many actresses have opened up about casting couch.
Ace choreographer Saroj Khan and Ranbir Kapoor have defended the casting couch as well. Recently, popular TV and Bollywood actor Rajeev Khandelwal shared his views on the issue that has been plaguing the entertainment industry for decades.
When asked if people behind casting couch should be named and shamed, the actor told HT,
“No, I don’t think so at all. It’s not just about that person, but the one who gives in to the casting couch is equally responsible. How can you say a woman is being exploited because she doesn’t mind getting exploited. Then she talks about the casting couch because she thinks the other man was more powerful.”
“No, somewhere you lacked confidence, you lacked self-belief. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have allowed. Casting couch is not rape where you are forced upon. What I understand from the casting couch is that you are subjected to a situation where you get some benefit out of it. One who is exploited is probably a weaker person, one who didn’t have enough confidence that they can do without it,” he added.
Sharing his own experience of the casting couch, Rajeev said that he chose to believe in himself rather than making compromises in the industry for work.
“In my case, I experienced someone trying to exploit me but I didn’t give in. I said my self-confidence is huge and I won’t remain workless if you don’t give me work. I will probably get work on my own terms and conditions and I did,” he said.
“Should that person be shamed? No. He didn’t rape me, he didn’t do anything offensive. He just gave me an option and the choice was mine,” he said.
Rajeev said people who cross their limits should be shamed. “Those who rape and those who exploit the situation because the person has no other choice. There are bigger people who should actually be shamed – the one who do harm to others, people who divide people in the name of religion – they should be shamed,” he said.
Talking about the #MeToo movement that has taken Bollywood by storm, Rajeev said, “People are just getting on a wave and getting off it at their own convenience, forgetting where the wave went.”
“We are all so self-centered that we probably join a bandwagon because sometimes we feel it is important to be seen as part of this group, which is talking about justice socially. Like the Unnao rape case, everyone comes in together but most of them don’t even know what exactly happened there. But you have to be seen on social media that you have condemned it,” he said.
He went on to add, “Sometimes you find a known name who has done a crime, a wave is formed and it develops and then we keep adding to it because we want to look good. You should know ‘What am I supporting? Am I supporting a wave or am I supporting an incident?’”
Rajeev also expressed in views on the hanging of Delhi rape case convicts and said, “There was a wave that justice was denied. We have a system in our country that let justice be delayed than justice is denied. I want to ask them how much groundwork they have done? You think the government and the judges don’t know this? How can you simply hang somebody without doing the investigation, then it will be a different world altogether.”
But Rajeev also feels that the MeToo wave has definitely brought a small but positive change in the industry.
“I think it still did a lot of good and it will continue to happen I guess. Fear must have set in the hearts of a lot of people. The weaker section will probably feel a little more confident of standing up for themselves,” he said.
What do you think about Rajeev Khandelwal’s views on these social issues? Tell us!