A huge controversy broke out on Tuesday after veteran choreographer Saroj Khan defended casting couch in Bollywood with a bizarre justification saying that 'it at least provides livelihood’. She further questioned why the film fraternity is being targeted over casting couch when politicians do it too. Massive outrage followed Saroj Khan’s absurd comment defending the practice of casting couch at a time when several female voices are opening up against sexual exploitation that is rampant in the industry.
When Republic’s Associate Editor Aditya Raj Kaul spoke to Saroj Khan over her casting couch comment, the senior Bollywood choreographer defended her stance and said that she had not said anything wrong.
“I didn't say anything wrong. It's there everywhere in business, in government, everywhere,” Saroj Khan told Republic.
While speaking to Republic, Saroj Khan also said, “See all the five fingers are not equal, I have been in the film industry for years. Why didn't anybody exploit us?”
When asked about why she was not condemning the practice of casting couch in the industry, Saroj Khan said:
“I condemn everybody, but film industry is our "mai-baap", they give us bread. Why don't you blame government because they give you food, and why don't you blame business because they give you bread.”
While Bollywood celebrities have largely stayed silent so far on Saroj Khan’s controversial remark, some celebrities like Shruti Seth, Sophie Choudry, and Vivek Agnihotri have spoken up on the matter.
Telugu actress Sri Reddy, who stripped in public to protest against the casting couch that is rampant in Tollywood, also lashed out at Saroj Khan for her comment. Speaking to a news agency on Saroj Khan’s infamous comment, Sri Reddy slammed the choreographer and said she has lost all respect for her.
Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor and top filmmakers like Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra laughed off the casting couch shocker. When asked about their comment on Saroj Khan’s outrageous remark, film producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra asked the reporter 'what he/she thinks their opinion should be' and when Ranbir Kapoor started speaking, Chopra burst into a giggle as if the reporter had cracked some joke. While Ranbir Kapoor laughed at it and said that he has never faced it.
Earlier, here's what Saroj Khan had said on casting couch that triggered the massive row:
“Can I tell you one thing? This has been going on since the beginning of time. It hasn't started now. Someone or the other tries to take advantage of every girl. The government's people do it too. Then why are you after the film industry? It provides livelihood at least. The men here do not rape and leave you," said Saroj Khan giving a shocking justification for casting couch.
“It depends on the girl, what she wants to do. If you don't want to fall in wrong hands, you won't. If you have talent, why would you sell yourself? Don't take the film industry's name, it is everything for us,” she added.
Get the latest entertainment news from India & around the world. Now follow your favourite television celebs and telly updates. Republic World is your one-stop destination for trending Bollywood news. Tune in today to stay updated with all the latest news and headlines from the world of entertainment.