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Vidya Balan Explains How She Didn't Fall Prey To Casting Couch In Indian Showbiz Industry

In her recent interview to CNN-News 18’s Entertainment Editor Rajeev Masand Vidya opened up about the discussion around sexual harassment in showbiz after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has faced allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact.

Updated:October 27, 2017, 11:54 PM IST
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Much like Hollywood, Indian film industry is undoubtedly plagued by problems that crop up chiefly because of the wrong usage of power. While most of us are busy reading and discussing Hollywood actresses and their casting couch horror stories, actress Vidya Balan too explained in a recent interview about how she saved herself from "sleazy predators" and "casting couch" that exists in the entertainment industry.

In her recent interview to CNN-News 18’s Entertainment Editor Rajeev Masand Vidya opened up about the discussion around sexual harassment in showbiz after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has faced allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact. With several actresses publicly accusing the entertainment mogul of abuse, their allegations have indeed set off a ripple effect. It has undoubtedly empowered many to share their stories of abuse by people whop enjoy power.

“I’m a living example of the fact that not everyone is a predator. It is about how you dictate the equation,” said Vidya on being asked if she thinks the "culture of silence" has existed in the industry where the casting couch are an open secret.

While casting couch is undoubtedly a big downside of the showbiz industry that many actors go through, Vidya says her ‘privileged background’ has helped her escape it. “I come from a privileged background where my survival doesn’t depend on this. So I always unknowingly gave the vibe that I’m acting for passion and that I’m serious about this. So I didn’t interact with people in a way that was personal. Almost err on the side of caution. Maybe it's also a middle-class thing. If you smelt a rat, you'd rather keep away. That was my way of protecting myself.”

However, the actress admitted that many people who were fine with her did threaten other girls.

"But I have heard of people propositioning girls and women. People who had absolutely been fine with me going ahead and being nasty, threatening and propositioning other girls. And I would always wonder why. I do tell some of them that they shouldn’t keep quite about it. But they say, 'I don't want to be known for this controversy'. And there's also fear that other producers won't give you work. One doesn’t know if that was only because of lack of talent, determination or something of this sort. But it does seem like you speak about it, people won't want to work with you.”

As Vidya says she is happy that multiple women have shared harrowing accounts of sexual assault and harassment by Weinstein.

“I’m glad that women in Hollywood are speaking up. But what shocked me was that I always thought that at those levels with that kind of success female actors wouldn’t keep quite. But maybe at that level you have more to lose or as much to lose," she added.

The actress also mentioned that she never faced the casting couch herself. .

“I didn’t go through it because I was so careful that I would walk away from certain opportunities before anybody could say anything. I walked away because wanted to be safe. Whatever you want to do for the sake of your career or your life, no one should be judging you either way. You would be blamed previously, so people wouldn't talk about it because fingers would be pointed at you," she said.

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