Casting couch is a grim reality in film industries all over the world. In India, shockingly, many celebrities pretend to deny its existence.
However, over the years, many Indian actresses have come forward and shared their horror stories.
On Day 1 of the India Today Conclave South 2018, in Hyderabad, Kannada actress Sruthi Hariharan spoke about her run-ins with the casting couch, and shared her terrifying experiences.
Sruthi was speaking during a session titled Sexism In Cinema: Time's Up.
The meeting for my first Kannada film left me so scared and petrified. I was only 18 back then," she said, adding that she did not do the film in the end.
However, Sruthi grew wiser and tougher over the years, and learned how to battle such situations.
She related another incident that happened after a few years, "Three or four years later, a well-established Kannada producer told me on a phone call, 'We're five producers, and we will use you and exchange you however we want. I remember this, and I immediately told him, I carry a slipper in my hand and you come to me and I will hit you.
Sruthi said that the word spread, and people began to believe that she was a "weird" and a "difficult person".
However, this ironically, just boosted her career. Sruthi said proudly, "But since then, I've received only good film offers.
In the Tamil film industry, however, her phone call with the producer did not go down very well. She stopped getting good offers for Tamil films.
Her advice to women in showbiz is, "More women need to stand up, to say no to this. You need two hands to clap. Don't just blame the men. Stand up against the casting couch.