Casting a couch is a very common thing in Bollywood as well as in other industries also. If any actress/actor aspires for a particular role, they are asked to perform sexual favors in exchange for the role. Now, in a recent interview, Divyanka reveals that she had faced this problem too. Divyanka Tripathi Dahiya is a famous Indian television actress, known for playing the role of Vidya Pratap Singh in Zee TV’s ‘Banu Mein Teri Dulhan’ and Star Plus’s Ye Hai Mohabbatein as Dr. Ishita Iyer. She was born in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Divyanka started her career as an anchor on All India Radio, Bhopal. She won the title of Miss Beautiful Skin in the year 2003 in Pantene Zee Teen Queen. In the year 2005, she has crowned Miss Bhopal. In the year 2005 she appeared in star one’s show Ye Dil Chahe More as Payal and then in the year 2006 she was featured in Banoo Mein Teri Dulhan’s show, she played duo roles of Vidya and Divya. From this show she won many awards for her performance- the Indian Television Academy Award for Best Actress in Drama Category and Indian Telly Award for Fresh New Face. After this, follow up with many shows- Jhoom India(reality show), Nachle Ve(2008), Jalwa Four 2 ka 1(2008), Sshhh… Koi Hai(2009).In the year 2013 she appeared in the role of Dr. Ishia Iyer in Ekta Kapoor’s show Yeh Hain Mohabbatein.
Her portrayal of Ishita won her many awards such as Indian Telly Awards for Best Actress in Lead Role, The Lions Gold Award for Best Actress in Lead Role. Boroplus Gold Award for Best Actress in Lead Role. In the year 2015, she won the Shan-E-Bhopal award. In year 2017, she participated in Nach Baliye 8 with her husband Vivek Dahiya. In the year 2021, she participated in Color’s TV stunt reality show- Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 11 as a contestant.
Now, in one of the interview, she is talking about the casting couch problem in Bollywood and revealed that she also faced it. She told when she had started fresh in the industry, people asked her to ‘spend time with a director to get a big break.’ She recalled her time when she had no money to pay her bills. In Bollywood, some people tried to make her believe that the casting couch is very common and everyone is doing it in the industry. But she said, she believed in her talent. After finishing the show, then again struggle starts for getting another break.
Then an offer comes, You have to be with this director and you’ll get a big break’. But why me? I was told that ‘you are intellectual, this, that.’ Selling it off like my life will be made just by that and everyone is doing it.”But she told she was quite confident about getting the project on her capabilities. She also included that “I had seen it in the beginning; I had got my first job based on my talent, and then next will be the same.”She said that this happened before the #Me Too Movement. People who make such offers and convince in such a wrong way that everybody is doing it for getting a break. They have gone to this level that if you do not do it they will ruin your career.
If we talk about the Me Too Movement many actresses confess it to this problem. It is started in the year 2018, it gathered sharp momentum in entertainment industry of Bollywood, when actress Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment while shooting for the “Horn Ok Please”. The actress also said that she was supposed to do a solo number for the film, but Patekar decided to join in and perform intimate dance steps that made her uncomfortable. Tanushree said that people in the industry know about this and he has beaten actresses, he molested them and his behavior with women has always been crude.
Nana Patekar denied these allegations and sent a legal notice to an actress. Tanushree Dutta in an interview with DNA claimed that not only Nana Patekar but director Vivek Agnihotri also sexually harassed her. She revealed that Vivek allegedly asked her to strip and dance earlier during the shooting of a song. The filmmaker wanted her to remove clothes and dance during the shooting.
After Tanushree actress, Sandhya Mridul alleged-Alok Nath, popular known for on-screen roles(sanskari) that he had made sexual advances towards her during a shoot. Vinta Nanda also alleged that the actor had raped her 19 years ago. Kangana Ranaut also voiced out her #MeToo story and revealed that director Vikas Bahl made her uncomfortable many times. “Every time we met, socially greeted and hugged each other, he’d bury his face in my neck, hold me tight and breathe in the smell of my hair. Kailash Kher was alleged by one of the female journalists-“This creep kept his hand on my thigh”. In his defense, Kailash said:” For all those who know me and have come across me, will know how much I respect humanity, especially women, even more for the ones who work in media since their work is difficult.”
Casting Couch is a sad reality and well-established male actors also faced it during the initial days of their careers. Like Ayushmann Khurana, Ranveer Singh, Rajeev Khandelwal face this situation. In the year 2021 Big Boss OTT contestant Zeeshan Khan opens up on his casting couch experience. He revealed that a casting director of a ‘nice production house’ called him for a meeting and asked him to take off his pants. He calls me there and he is like, ‘You know what, this guy is like a college baddie, so I want to see how physically fit you are. Can you take your T-shirt off?’ I was like, ‘Okay, I am cool with that.’ I take my T-shirt off. After that, he is like, ‘I want to see your legs because a lot of people work only on their upper body and not their lower body.
Zeeshan told the director that he was not comfortable. Then director told him ‘Arre yaar, ab toh samajh hi gaya hoga tu.” (You know, so many people sat in the same seat where you are sitting today and look where they are now).