Vidya speaks out on the cast­ing couch rum­pus

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - Hindustan Times (Jaipur) - City - - Front Page - IANS

Ac­tor Vidya Balan says that she pro­tected her­self from “sleazy preda­tors” and “cast­ing couch” in the film in­dus­try. On a TV show, Vidya has opened up about the clam­our around sex­ual ha­rass­ment in show­biz, af­ter Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein was ac­cused by sev­eral ac­tors and mod­els of rape and as­sault. The ques­tion about why the women had re­mained silent has been posed mul­ti­ple times. Ac­cord­ing to Vidya, “You can’t judge when women should speak about it or why they didn’t speak about it ear­lier.” Asked if the “cul­ture of si­lence” has ex­isted in the In­dian film fra­ter­nity, as in the West, where the cast­ing couch is an open se­cret, she says, “I come from a priv­i­leged back­ground, so I al­ways gave the vibe that I don’t need this, I’m only do­ing this as a pas­sion, I’m very se­ri­ous about this... But I won’t [in­ter­act] with peo­ple in a way that’s 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.” “But,” the ac­tor adds, “I have heard of peo­ple — [those] who had been ab­so­lutely fine with me — threat­en­ing [and] propo­si­tion­ing other women; and I’d tell some of them, ‘You shouldn’t keep quiet about it’ and they’d say, ‘I don’t want to be known for this con­tro­versy’. And there’s also fear that other pro­duc­ers won’t give you work...” Vidya adds, “I al­ways thought that at that level, with [their] kind of suc­cess, fe­male ac­tors in Hol­ly­wood would not keep quiet and tol­er­ate sex­ual ha­rass­ment. But maybe at that level you have more to lose or as much to lose.”

PHOTO: PTI

Vidya Balan says that she was good at pro­tect­ing her­self

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