Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Take a Chance on Dance", How about a chance on the casting couch?

Hey everyone! It's your co-editor Safra here!
Enjoy the article and don't be afraid to give a little feedback.

Dance Pe Chance - Rab ne Bana De Jodi

"Dance pe chance marle...". "Take a chance on dance...", or how about a chance to dance on the casting couch?

Bollywood, a portmanteau of "Bombay" and America's "Hollywood" to describe the film industry housed in Mumbai. Bollywood is very much characterized by its catchy music, showy dance numbers, overdramatic takes, and complex plots (usually involving romance); a completely different description from that of Hollywood. If you don't believe me see for yourself --> check out the video above.

So the word "Bollywood" is derived from "Hollywood", but that's not the only thing in the Hindi film industry that is derived from American culture. Actually, what you probably may not be aware of is that the use of the casting couch -the specific couch found in producer/director offices that makes the exchange of sexual favors for roles in any production convenient- is prolific in Hollywood. Unfortunately, it has recently become an issue in the film industry in India as well as other movie production centers that are housed there i.e. the Telugu film industry.

Yes, my dearies sexual exploitation isn't something for just the common folk, but fortunately for us there is enough proof to supply you with the who, what, when, where, and why.

Also don't think for a second the casting couch only happens to females. A lot of aspiring actors are subject to the vulnerability of wanting to perform and it is easy to be taken advantage of in such a state. Bollywood actor and former model, Aashish Chaudhary (to your left), has experienced it from both sides. As stated on Mediaticks, Chaudhary has been offered many of these indecent proposals and all the while has had wannabe actresses try to hand themselves over on a silver platter. Wouldn't that be considered prostitution? The latter case would be and if Aashish had taken the newcomer's offers it would be sexual exploitation on his part. But when Aashish is given such propositions it is and only sexual exploitation. Prostitution by definition is "when someone willingly uses his or her talent/ability in a base or unworthy way, usually for money". (Definition courtesy of As explained in my first article sexual exploitation is when someone in a position of power abuses someone else in a more vulnerable state. Exploitative activity is broadly categorized. Sexual favors can be given in what is a seemingly 'consensual' way in return for a job, money in states of a financial crisis, attention, gifts, and can even follow through to organized crime. For follow up on this visit Barnardo's Children. This information also applies to adults.

For fame, money, or the ability to perform people will do anything. That slight moment of insecurity or realizing your dreams may not come true is haunting. Let's face it being a student in college and not knowing if you will ever find a job is scary. In a way they are all too similar. And it's that state of mind that producers/directors can use as leverage. However, Aashish knew patience was a virtue and stuck to his scruples. He has made it big after starring in Bollywood movies like "Girl Friend", "Dhaamal", and "Shaadi Ka Ladoo".

For a real exposé and details about the life surrounding the struggle for stardom feel free to read Casting Couch Confidential by Bessie Bardot and Geoff Barker. And while their story only pertains to the world of modeling and advertisement it would be good to keep in mind that the casting couch is found in the head offices of many industries. The exchange of sexual favors for a job may occur for even the simplest of positions. In times of desperation people do what they have to do in order to survive. It's the sad reality of social darwinism.

*Something to think about*
During the 2007-2009 financial crisis how many people were laid off or lost their jobs completely? Now how many people were at a breaking point?

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Kayleigh Jean said...

Interesting blog post,and great that you bring this to peoples attention,I guess we know it goes on,but dont actually stop to think about it.Its a shame that people take advantage of the vunerable,that you want something so bad and is so hard to get into that you feel this is your only option or feel pressured into being exploited.Such a shame.
Thank you for your kind workds on my blog hope you well,and great insightful post x

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