Casting couch ‘provides livelihood’, says Saroj Khan, even parliament not immune says Renuka Chowdhary

The film industry at least provided a livelihood. They don’t leave someone after raping them, says Saroj Khan

It is not just in the film industry… Don’t imagine that parliament is immune, says Renuka Chowdhary

Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan’s recent statements on casting couch in a press conference sparked a debate. When she was asked about the strip protest by Telugu actress Sri Reddy against the casting couch menace in the (Telugu) film industry, the veteran choreographer said, “Yeh chala aa raha hai Baba azam ke zamaane se. Har ladki ke upar koi na koi haath saaf karne ki koshish karta hai. Government ke log bhi karte hain. Tum film industry ke peeche kyun pade ho? Woh kam se kam roti toh deti hai. Rape karke chhod toh nahi deti. (The film industry at least provided a livelihood. They don’t leave someone after raping them).”

Following an outrage on social media for ‘defending’ sexual harassment and exploitation, Saroj Khan issued an apology.

Following the backlash, actress Richa Chadha has come out in defence of the ace choreographer. While Richa has always been vocal about the prevalence of casting couch and other forms of sexual harassment that women have to go through, this time Richa says that people are making a mountain out of a molehill for Saroj Khan’s statement.

Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary has said that the “casting couch” is the grim reality “not just in the film industry but everywhere”, even parliament. The former parliamentarian was responding to Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan’s shocker appearing to justify the casting couch – the exchange of sexual favours for work.

“It is not just in the film industry. It happens everywhere and it is the bitter truth. Don’t imagine that parliament is immune or other work places are immune to it. It is time that India stood up and said ‘Me Too’,” said Chowdhary, whose Rajya Sabha term ended last month.


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