Saroj Khan says casting couch provides livelihood, apologises later

New Delhi: Prominent choreographer Saroj Khan on Tuesday said something to defend casting couch and earned criticism form the entire world. “The casting couch in Bollywood has long been known and it is just not the film industry but sexual favours are demanded even in politics,” said the veteran choreographer.

She added, “This is going on from ‘baba Adam’s times’, it is not new. Someone or the other always tries to take advantage of a girl. The government officials do it too, then why are we only behind the film industry? It provides livelihood at least. Does not rape and leave you. It is up to the girl, what she wants to do. If you don’t want to fall into wrong hands, you won’t. If you know your craft and are talented, why would you sell yourself?”

The 69-year-old choreographer of more than 2000 songs, said the ‘tradition’ has been going on since centuries and blaming just Bollywood is unfair.

Saroj Khan’s statement on existence of casting couch in the film industry shocked her fans, inviting in a lot of criticism on social media.

Khan has, however, apologised for making the remark. “Whatever the question, you don’t know… You just know my answer. So it is sounding wrong. But anyhow, I am sorry. I apologise,” Khan told IANS.

When probed as to what was the question, Khan disconnected the call.

The comment comes in the wake of a debate which got intensified after southern actress Sri Reddy caused a stir by sitting semi-naked on a road in Hyderabad to protest against the casting couch menace in the film world on April 9.

Telugu Film Chamber employees were in for a surprise when Tollywood female actor Sri Reddy sat topless outside the office in Hyderabad to protest against the existence of ‘casting couch’. She alleged that she was asked to send inappropriate pictures and videos to get a chance in Telugu films, and threatened to expose names of people who “exploit young, aspiring actors”.

“Why Telugu actors like me don’t get a chance. They should give 75% chances to Telugu people in films. I want membership in Telugu film chamber. Why are they not giving it? I have done three films,” Reddy had expressed her disappointment.

Bollywood actor Richa Chadda in support to Saroj Khan’s statement said, “I think people are making mountain of molehill. There’s narrative that people in Bollywood are the worst and indulge in malpractices which isn’t the case. She meant to say it takes place in all industries, why is Bollywood being singled out?”

(With inputs from ANI and IANS)