Veteran choreographer Saroj Khan once again stirred the casting couch controversy with her statements. The ace choreographer accepted the presence of casting couch in the Indian entertainment industry. She also defended it by saying that casting couch is prevalent in every field, and not just in the film industry which atleast provides livelihood to the victims.
"Can I tell you one thing? This has been happening since the beginning of time. It hasn't started now. Someone or the other tries to take advantage of every other girl. The government's people do it too. Then why are you after the film industry?" Saroj Khan said at an event in Sangli, Maharashtra.
She added, "It provides livelihood at least. Does not rape and leave you. It depends on the girl, what she wants to do. If you don't want to fall in the wrong hands, you won't. If you have art, why would you sell yourself? Don't take the film industry's name."
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Bollywood celebrities, who earlier came out in open in large numbers to speak against sexual harassment in the entertainment industry with the global #MeToo movement, so far have kept mum on the matter.
Only a handful of Bollywood celebrities like Sophie Choudry, Ashoke Pandit, Priya Malik and Shruti Seth spoke about condemned the choreographer's statement. However, Richa Chadha, on the other hand, felt that Saroj Khan may have been misquoted or misunderstood.
Can’t begin to think what thousands of girls go through in the hope that their “dreams” will come true! Nobody wants to sleep with someone for work. But they are made to feel it’s the only way & “acceptable”. And for those who don’t, it’s a tough road! This has to stop! #TimesUp— Sophie Choudry (@Sophie_Choudry) April 24, 2018
I didn't expect such derogatory & uncalled for statements from a veteran like #SarojKhan and totally condemn it. Our #EntertaimentIndustry, like all other industries respects women. #Exploitation of women is a crime and should be fought in all spheres of life.— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) April 24, 2018
The right intent but very, very wrong words. Again, women are made incumbent to stop injustice against themselves & men have been absolved of their participation.— Shruti Seth (@SethShruti) April 24, 2018
Stop the practice of sexual exploitation. In whichever industry it exists, it's WRONG! https://t.co/ZA9Q51jqWn
Khan has, however, apologized 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 apologize," 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.
(With IANS Inputs)