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Mukesh Chhabra rubbishes reports of casting couch

Chhabra, who cast for films like Kai Po Che! (2013), Dangal (2016), denied that the industry is beset by 'casting couch'.

Our Correspondent

While the American film industry has been thrown into chaos, with revelations about movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, questions are being raised on Hindi cinema as well.

Previously, actors like Tisca Chopra, Kalki Koechlin, Ranveer Singh and Ayushmann Khurrana have talked about the prevalence of the dreaded 'casting couch' in the industry. However, casting director Mukesh Chhabra has denied any existence of the malpractice.

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The founder of Mukesh Chhabra Casting Company, and one of the top casting directors of the country, Chhabra spoke to IANS saying, "Not at all. I don't want to get into the unnecessary controversy because it is nothing like that. There's no point in discussing it."

While he refused to acknowledge that casting couch exists, Chhabra did suggest that struggling actors do turn to it in desperation. He said, "They constantly call or send messages to me. I don't blame them. It's fine. That's their job. Sometimes they get angry or depressed."

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With the role of casting directors gaining importance in recent years, Chhabra says that the process has become very professional. "In the last 10 years, there is a lot more respect. We are important part of script and finding talent," he said.

I've been propositioned by men who were in a position to cast me: Swara Bhaskar

Despite his statement, there have been increasing voices speaking about experiences of sexual harrassment in the industry.

Last week, actress Swara Bhaskar revealed that the Hindi film industry is not 'conducive to an honest conversation about sexual misconduct.' Speaking about a personal experience, she said, "I was asked to go to his hotel room on the pretext of discussing the scene, where I found him drinking. During the first week itself, he started talking about love and sex and one night, arrived in my room, drunk, and asked to be hugged. It was scary!"

Before Bhaskar, actors like Ranveer Singh and Ayushmann Khurrana had also spoken about being propositioned during their days as struggling actors.

Related topics

Casting Couch