Rakhi Sawant says Bollywood’s casting couch is ‘consensual and voluntary’

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MUMBAI: Never one to shy away from calling a spade a spade, Rakhi Sawant now has a rather startling opinion on the ongoing debate on the casting couch and sexual harassment of strugglers in the film industry.

Rakhi admits to being a victim.

“When I was struggling, yes I did face the casting couch. But it wasn’t as if every producer or director I approached was guilty. As in every walk of life, there is sexual corruption in the film industry also. As far as I was concerned, this was just in the beginning. But I had talent and I didn’t have to give in. I learnt to say no. And I used my talent as an artist to make my way through life. I would suggest all those struggling to have patience and not surrender to the temptation of shortcuts,” she said.

Rakhi completely supports Saroj Khan in the opinion that there is no coercion involved when sexual favours are exchanged.

“Nobody rapes anyone in this film industry. It’s all consensual and voluntary. In this, I fully support Saroj. At least she has spoken her mind and has let the world know the truth. People in Bollywood don’t speak out the truth about the casting couch although it is happening right in front of their eyes. They feel they are making their way up why should they bother with what’s happening around them? I really admire Saroj for letting the world know the reality that they have to face every day. Saroj has seen what goes here and I totally agree with her.”

The shocker from Rakhi is the revelation on how rampant sexual favours are in the film industry.

“Young girls are willing to make any compromise to get going in their career. A lot of girls come in the film industry to become heroines but become something else… you understand what I am saying? Call it destiny or what you will.”

Rakhi’s advice to young aspirants?

“Have faith in your talent. Have patience. Don’t give in to shortcuts. I’ve seen so many girls throw themselves at producers. This is not good. I don’t want to take any names. It shouldn’t be so. Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra are superstars because of their hard work and not for any other reason. The ones who take the shortcut end up on a different track altogether. Don’t do this to yourself. And don’t blame producers for taking what you have to offer.”

The actor wants to stress that it’s not just girls who are casualties of sexual compromise, but boys too are equally prone to compromise in the entertainment and fashion industry.

“I keep telling the strugglers not to give in. I don’t want to denigrate Bollywood. But because Sarojji has raised her voice I am supporting her.”