Saroj Khan's comment on casting couch in Bollywood had triggered a controversy which has left everyone talking about it. Radhika Apte and Marathi actress Usha Jadhav recently spoke about sexual exploitation in the entertainment industry in a BBC documentary. And now, Rakhi Sawant has shed some light on the dirty secrets of Bollywood.
Rakhi Sawant admitted that she has faced casting couch during her salad days.
"When I was a struggler, yes I did face the casting couch. But it wasn't as if every producer or director I approached was guilty. As in every walk of life, there is sexual corruption in the film industry also. As far as I was concerned, this was just in the beginning. But I had talent and I didn't have to give in. I learned to say no. And I used my talent as an artist to make my way through life. I suggest all strugglers to have patience and not surrender to the temptation of shortcuts," Rakhi told IANS.
She also supported Saroj Khan and said that nobody rapes in the film industry as sexual favors are consensual and voluntary.
"Nobody rapes anyone in this film industry. It's all consensual and voluntary. In this, I fully support Sarojji. At least she has spoken her mind and let the world know the truth. People in Bollywood don't speak out the truth about the casting couch although it is happening right here in front of their eyes. They feel they are making their way up why should they bother with what's happening around them? I really admire Sarojji for letting the world know the reality that they have to face every day. Sarojji has seen what goes here. I totally agree with her," she said.
She added that young girls are willing to make a sexual compromise to get desired work. "A lot of girls come in the film industry to become heroines but become something else... you understand what I am saying? Call it destiny or what you will," she opined.
Rakhi, who has also through her own share of struggle, advised young aspirants to faith in their talent, have patience and don't give on to shortcuts.
"I've seen so many girls throw themselves at producers. This is not good. I don't want to take any names. Lekin aisa hota hai (But this happens). It shouldn't be so. Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra are superstars because of their hard work and not for any other reason. The ones who take the shortcut end up on a different track altogether. Don't do this to yourself. And don't blame producers for taking what you have to offer," Rakhi said.
Rakhi wants to stress that it's not just girls who are casualties of sexual compromise, but boys too are equally prone to compromise in the entertainment and fashion industry.
"I keep telling the strugglers not to give in. Lekin kya karenge, Mumbai hai hi itni expensive city (But what to do, Mumbai, as a city, is very expensive). I don't want to denigrate Bollywood. But because Sarojji has raised her voice I am supporting her."