May 6, 2012

Films & Television Casting Couch Facts & Real Cases

Film & Television Casting Couch Facts

  • While some say many newcomers continue to encounter casting couch in in Films, others maintain that casting couch now takes place more in television and B-grade cinema. 
  • In Bollywood, even men are propositioned 
  • Andheri’s Lokhandwala is perhaps the epicentre of Bollywood’s casting couch. 
  • While the Lokhandwala film industry has been infiltrated by fly-bynight producers who exploit newcomers, the real tinsel town, in contrast, has corporate funding, image makeovers and branding. 
  • Casting couch is far more prevalent in the television industry where actors find themselves dropped from entire episodes if they do not agree to oblige.
  • Sudden disappearance of a face from the television scene is often because the artiste refuses to compromise. 
  • Youngsters are getting exploited — be it for a roof over their heads or a two-bit role in a film
The Casting Couch Process
  • The ‘casting couch’ process starts much before an aspirant comes face to facewith a director or a producer. 
  • Touts, who claim direct access to the big boys of Bollywood, accost newcomers outside production houses and then it may be several rounds before the starlet finally gets to meet the person/s who will be deciding on casting her. 
  • Of course, there are directors who defend “genuine” producers but even they agree that Andheri’s Lokhandwala is perhaps the epicentre of Bollywood’s casting couch. In Bollywood, even men are propositioned 
  • Actor Ranveer Singh of Band Baaja Baaraat fame talks of how he was propositioned. “A coordinator called me for an audition where three gentlemen directly asked for favours. They kept using words like darling, tu toh bada sexy hai.” After rushing out, he did a bit of sleuthing to find out about the coordinator. “No one seemed to know this coordinator.” 
Some prominent Film  & Television Casting Couch Cases
Neeraj Grover-Maria Susairaj case:
  • Maria Susairaj was a new and small-time Kannada film actress 
  • Neeraj Grover was helping Susairaj to establish a foothold in the television industry and had also arranged few auditions for her. 
  • Lieutenant M.L. Jerome Mathew was Maria Susairaj's boyfriend. Both were said to be getting engaged two months later. 
  • Susairaj had once told Mathew that Grover had crush on her but she did not reciprocate. She had reportedly also stayed at Grover's apartment for a few days. At the time of the incident, Susairaj was shifting into her new rented apartment and Grover was helping her with the shifting.
  • On the 6th of May, 2008, Grover reportedly went to meet Susairaj and was never found again. Susairaj, when questioned by police, continued fabricating stories for 10 days, until she eventually told the police that Mathew had killed Grover in her presence.
Actor Ranveer Singh of Band Baaja Baaraat fame talks of how he was propositioned for casting couch. 
  • “A coordinator called me for an audition where three gentlemen directly asked for favours. They kept using words like darling, tu toh bada sexy hai.” 
  • After rushing out, he did a bit of sleuthing to find out about the coordinator. “No one seemed to know this coordinator.” 
Simran Sood-Vijay Palande Case
  • Vijay Palande and Simran Sood were arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of wannabe producer Karan Kakkar early in March
  • Kakkar worked as a lyricist in the Hindi film industry and dreamed of opening his own production house. Just before he went missing on March, he told his older brother, Hanish that a neighbour (Sood) and her brother (Palande) would introduce him to a financier who would fund his production house.

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