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Saroj Khan apologises for comments on casting couch after backlash

Speaking at press conference on 23 April, Khan had slammed those questioning the Hindi film industry and claimed that the onus lies on women, whether or not they want to be exploited.

Mayur Lookhar

The menace of casting couch has long plagued the Hindi film industry. The media often throws up uncomfortable questions related to the issue at various artistes. One of the replies one gets more often than not is that sexual exploitation is not exclusive to the film industry and can be found in everywhere. However, veteran choreographer Saroj Khan has a reply that can be called bizarre at best.

Khan chose to slam those questioning the industry and claimed that the onus lies on the women whether or not they want to be exploited.

“Yeh chala aa raha hai baba azam ke zamaane se. Har ladki ke upar koi na koi haath saaf karne ki koshish karta hai. Government ke log bhi karte hain. Tum film industry ke peeche kyun pade ho? Woh kam se kam roti toh deti hai. Rape karke chhod toh nahi deti [This has been taking place since ages. Every girl is a target. Even the government employees indulge into this. Why do you always target the film industry? At least, the film industry provides work. They don’t dump you after raping], ” Khan told media persons at a press conference yesterday (23 April).

She then added that it is purely the girl’s choice whether to get exploited or not. 

"Yeh ladki ke upar hai ki tum kya karna chahti ho. Tum uske haath mein nahi aana chahti ho toh nahi aaogi. Tumhare paas art hai toh tum kyun bechoge apne aap ko? Film industry ko kuch mat kehna, woh humaara mai-baap hai [It is entirely up to the girl to decide what she wants to do. Whether she wants to get exploited or not. If you are talented why would you sell yourself? Don’t blame the film industry, it is our bread and butter]," Khan added.

These comments coming from an industry veteran has expectedly sent shockwaves. Actor-dancer Sophie Choudry, a series of tweets, reproached Khan for the remarks and demanded that this practice be put to an end. 

“WTH?!!!! So much respect for Saroj-ji as a choreographer but this is how she uses her position to protect girls?! If I didn’t come from a financially sound background I would have returned to London within a month of being in Mumbai cos of “industry folk” who think like that,” Choudry tweeted. 

“Can’t begin to think what thousands of girls go through in the hope that their “dreams” will come true! Nobody wants to sleep with someone for work. But they are made to feel it’s the only way & “acceptable”. And for those who don’t, it’s a tough road! This has to stop!” she further wrote. 

Today (24 April), in an interaction with CNN News 18, a news channel, Khan issued an apology by saying, “I am sorry, I apologise.”


Related topics

Casting Couch