Famous Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan recently shocked everyone when she defended the practice of casting couch in film industry at a press conference in Mumbai. Not only did she defend the practice but also said that it has been going on since long. The three-times National Award winner who has choreographed many popular songs of 80s and 90s was asked her opinion about Telugu actor Sri Reddy’s act of stripping to protest against the practice of casting couch.
At the conference, she told reporters, “Yeh chala aa raha hai Baba azam ke zamaane se. Har ladki ke upar koi na koi haath saaf karne ki koshish karta hai. Govt ke log bhi karte hain. Tum film industry ke peeche kyun pade ho? Woh kam se kam roti toh deti hai. Rape karke chhod toh nahi deti. (This has been going on for ages. Everybody wants to try their hands on a girl, even the government employees. Why are you only after the film industry? At least they provide a livelihood. They don’t abandon someone after raping them.)”
She went on to add that, “Yeh ladki ke upar hai ki tum kya karna chahti ho. Tum uske haath mein nahi aana chahti ho toh nahi aaogi. Tumhare paas art hai toh tum kyun bechoge apne aap ko? Film industry ko kuch mat kehna, woh humaara mai-baap hai. (It is upto the girl what she wants to do, if you don’t want to compromise, you won’t have to. If you have skills and talent, why would you sell yourself? Don’t say anything about the film industry, they are our godfather.)”
Khan’s comment justifying the ill-practice of casting couch drew a lot of criticism and flak from the netizens. After receiving backlash from Twitterati, the ace choreographer apologised for her remarks and stated, “I have already said I am sorry. But you don’t know the question that was asked… And now there’s so much ruckus.”
Telugu actress Sri Reddy reacted to veteran Choreographer’s remarks by saying, “I lost respect for you Saroj ma’am. Being an elder you should give a good path to young actresses. It is giving a wrong indication that you have to be a slave to producers.”
Actress and singer Sophie Choudry also condemned Saroj Khan’s comment justifying casting couch. She tweeted, “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!”
However, actress Richa Chaddha has come out in support of industry veteran Saroj Khan. “I think people are making a mountain of a molehill. There’s a narrative that people in Bollywood are the worst and indulge in malpractices which isn’t the case. She meant to say it takes place in all industries, why is Bollywood being singled out?” said Richa.