Casting couch exists in Bollywood: Manoj Tiwari

Manoj Tiwari. Photo credit: PTI

 It cannot be denied that the casting couch exists in Bollywood and there is a section that makes films solely for the purpose of exploiting women, BJP MP and popular Bhojpuri actor-singer Manoj Tiwari said on Tuesday.

The MP, however, said one could not generalise on the issue and people who demanded sexual favours from those in search of work in the industry were in a minority.

Reacting to veteran dance choreographer Saroj Khan's statement on the casting couch in Bollywood, Tiwari said there were three types of people in the film industry.

"There are those who choose artistes and talent, those who exploit young artistes who are prepared to compromise, and a third category, fewer in number, of people who make films solely for the purpose (of exploitation)," he said.

Khan had defended the casting couch culture, saying the Indian film industry "at least" provided jobs and did not abandon women after raping them.

"It cannot be generalised although it cannot be denied. It depends on the mentality of the individual. There are many who do not compromise while choosing artistes and talent," Tiwari told PTI.

In comments that come in the wake of the MeToo campaign, which called out sexual offenders, Khan put the onus on women and said the casting couch was not a new phenomenon.

Even people in the government indulge in it, she said in response to a question from a journalist in Sangli on Telugu actor Sri Reddy stripping in protest against the casting couch culture in the Telugu film industry.

"You cannot say that those indulging in the casting couch culture dominate the film industry. THey do not number more than 10 per cent, I believe," Tiwari said.

Last year, Hollywood spoke out against sexual misconduct after disclosures about media mogul Harvey Weinstein. The incident had a domino effect, with many questions being raised about sexual harassment and abuse at the workplace, particularly the entertainment industry.

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Casting couch exists in Bollywood: Manoj Tiwari

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