Actress Rejects 28 Offers Because of Casting Couch
By A Sharadhaa | ENS | Published: 16th August 2014 06:00 AM |
BANGALORE: Recently, television artiste turned actress Sree Mayya put up a status message on Facebook that confirmed the presence of ‘casting couch’ in the south Indian film industry.
"They first approve me for projects but finally reject me because I don't agree to ‘commit’. This is the term used in the industry for sexual favours," she told City Express. While this might seem like a one-off case of an aspiring but dejected actress, she reveals that even her peers have been subjected to this kind of harassment. "I have gone to at least 45 meetings. Some of them didn't work out as I didn't fit the role. In other cases, I didn't like the script. But I rejected around 28 offers because certain ‘favours’ were asked of me," Mayya says.
For the actress who has worked in two Kannada films — Kalaberike and Brahma Vishnu Maheshwara — things were looking good, but she felt that there was a catch during most auditions. Maya adds that at one point she realised that she was being treated like a commodity. “It is hard to point fingers at one particular person. Either a coordinator or an associate director is involved or an assistant from the film’s team. They spring the word ‘commitment’ in between meetings," she says.
She recounts one particularly horrifying meeting in Chennai, where she was asked to strip. "They told me that since the film would resemble Avatar, I would have to shoot in the nude and that my entire body would be painted. I refused saying that our industry standards are different from Hollywood's," she says.
Her bold approach has cost her dearly. She has been rejected by many filmmakers who were previously ready to cast her. "I have not faced any problems in the Kananda films though. Unfortunately, my frankness has not helped but pulled me down. I am not even opening my Facebook page because I am getting messages saying that I was wrong in coming out with the truth. I want support from filmmakers who recognise talent and only talent," she says.