Rajeev Khandelwal, arguably one of the most popular faces on the Indian television, has recounted a casting couch experience that he had with a film-maker.
At the time of the incident, Rajeev was just starting out in his film career. The actor said that the man "would flaunt owing a 100-crore film to the industry back in the day."
During an interview with us, Rajeev recalled a meeting that transpired several years ago between him and the film-maker.
"This was before Aamir had happened. I was in his office and he tried to 'suggest' something. I immediately walked out. He then texted me, but I politely refused. He had promised me a two-film deal but I told him that 'I'm happy doing nothing,'" Rajeev said.
A few years later, when Rajeev was working on his debut movie Aamir, he encountered the man again.
"When he came to know that I was doing Aamir, he taunted that I was doing a low budget film," Rajeev said, before adding that the man again approached him for a project.
"At first, he refused to narrate the story, and only gave a gist instead. Later, he asked me to meet him at his home. Next day, he asked me to go to his bedroom. I told him this was not in my comfort zone, and came out."
Rajeev said that while men have been the predators in most cases, at times they can be victims too.
"To be honest, it's scary for men because we won’t even be given proper time. Social media should stop joining things together, and build it up like justice for this one or that one, without even knowing whether we have done our research and investigation," he added.
Meanwhile, Rajeev is being appreciated for his latest web show Marzi, which is now streaming on Voot Originals. The show, also featuring Aahana Kumra, is a story of "a date gone wrong." The series, which comprises of eight episodes, touches upon pertinent issues like victim shaming, consent and gaslighting.
When asked if the show aimed to make a positive difference in the post #MeToo era, he said, "When I was hosting the show Sach Ka Saamna back in the days, people would ask me have you seen a change. I told them, this is half an hour of your engagement to a show that offers entertainment. Now the USP of the show is that while we talk, you think. Same applies with Marzi.
"Whether it’s a man or a woman, we can actually relate to it. And it is all based on how much we are fed. Even when we talk about the MeToo movement, how much do we know? We form our opinions and judgement on the basis of what we read. I have never met any of the cases personally, so I don’t know the truth. We have been reading two versions of the story, one completely different from the other. And of course, when you write something, you colour it in your own way also."
Rajeev said that he avoids forming an opinion without knowing both sides of a story.
"When it comes to it being a moment (#MeToo), it’s a great in terms of generating fear for all those who have been exploiting from powerful positions, but we cannot rally our support without knowing the truth. The moment I form an opinion; I am crucifying the person," the actor signed off.
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