After Telugu actress Sri Reddy came out in public and staged the protest against the evil practice of casting couch in the Telugu film industry, a number of debates and controversies have created quite a stir in the Indian entertainment industry.
Veteran Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary has also commented that even Parliament is not immune to the issue. Along with her veteran Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan recently said that Bollywood, (through casting couch) at least, provides livelihood and does not rape and leave women.
Shatrughan Sinha has also said that sexual favours are demanded as well as given in both the glamour industry well as the political world. Sinha accepted the existence of casting couch in politics and said that the young aspiring brigade is known to offer sexual favours and of course, the senior brigade is known to accept.
By defending Saroj Khan, Shatrughan was not defending casting couch. Instead, he said, "Don’t condemn Sarojji for speaking the truth. Condemn those who create a situation where girls and boys feel they have to compromise to get ahead in life.”
The actor said in his statement, “Neither Saroj Khan nor Renuka Chowdhary is wrong. Sexual favours are demanded and given in both the entertainment world and in politics. It’s an old and time-tested way of getting ahead in life. ‘You please me I’ll please you’.”
"This has been happening since time immemorial. What is there to get so upset about," Sinha added.
Defending Saroj Khan, Sinha said: "Saroj Khan's contribution to choreography and to shaping the careers of Rekha, Madhuri Dixit and the late much-missed Sridevi, was invaluable. Saroj Khan is a legend in her own right. She often speaks from her heart and lets emotional correctness rule over political correctness. If she said that girls have to compromise sexually in Bollywood, she must be aware of what goes on."
Sinha himself does not deny the existence of the casting couch.
“I completely agree with both Saroj and Renuka. I know the kind of compromises girls have to make to get into films. Perhaps Sarojji has herself gone through her own pain and humiliation.
“As for politics, I don’t know what we can call the casting couch in politics maybe the casting-vote couch. Of course the young aspiring brigade is known to offer sexual favours and of course the senior brigade is known to accept.
“I am not saying it is right. I would never be part of such a compromise. But we cannot shut our eyes to the reality around us.
Sinha also told that casting couch was a personal choice as no girl is forced to lie down on the couch. You have something to give and you are offering it to someone who is interested. Where is the coercion or compulsion" he questioned.
(Inputs from IANS)