'Don't imagine that Parliament is immune to casting couch', says Renuka Chowdhary
Amid a massive uproar over choreographer Saroj Khan's remark on casting couch in the film industry, Congress MP Renuka Chowdhary has said that even Parliament is not immune to it. Chowdhary, known for making quirky remarks, said that casting couch is a 'bitter truth' which happens 'everywhere.
Saroj Khan had stirred a hornet's nest by defending the 'casting couch' in the film industry and gave a bizarre logic to justify it. She said that it was done with the consent of a girl. Khan, however, apologised for the remark later.
"It is not just in the film industry. It happens everywhere and it is the bitter truth. Don't imagine that Parliament is immune or other workplaces are immune to it. It is time that India stood up and said 'Me Too'," Chowdhary told news agency ANI when asked to react on Khan's remark.
Khan said there was nothing new in casting couch. The bizarre logic she gave to sort of justify it was that "at least it gives livelihood". She had also reportedly said that women are ultimately responsible for casting couch as it is done with their consent.
"Casting couch provides a livelihood. Taking advantage of a girl is done with her consent. Women are not sexually abused and dumped. They are given livelihood," reports quoted her as saying.
The term casting couch has brought a lot of ill fame to the film industry. The term is used to describe sexual favours demanded by the casting directors or film producers from aspiring actors for a role in a film or for another career advancement. Several reports have surfaced in the past in which the filmmakers are said to have demanded sexual favours in exchange for a role in films.
Chowdhary had made headlines couple of months back when she laughed out during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech in Parliament. When Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asked her to stop chuckling, PM Modi said, "Please do not stop Renuka ji, after TV serial Ramayana we are getting to hear such a laughter now."
This left Chowdhary fuming and she said that the PM had insulted women. She even demanded an apology from the BJP after MoS Home Kiren Rijiju posted a video clip from the serial Ramayana in which demoness Shurpanaka could be seen laughing out loud.