Actor Zeeshan Khan, who is a part of popular show Kumkum Bhagya, has recalled a casting couch incident that he experienced.
With the lopsided power dynamic and structure of our society, cases like sexual harassment have been rampant and often go unreported. It is the sense of authority that perpetrator derives from being in a power position over their victim which leads to such atrocities. Similar is the case with the film industry, where various new actors who are looking for roles fall victim to this power system and harassed by the casting couches, who demand sexual favours from these newcomers.
Zeeshan Khan is currently seen playing the role of Aryan in the show Kumkum Bhagya. The actor has opened up about having experienced the casting couch when he was starting out as an actor. He said that he was laughed at when he refused to give in.
In an interview, the actor said that the incident was heartbreaking. He told SpotboyE, “Firstly, I believe the casting couch, one of the horrible truths of the industry, should not exist. When I was new, I was told that I won’t make it big and was laughed at when I declined an offer of compromise. And that incident was heartbreaking. It breaks the spirits of many such actors. But I still made it to the top with my hard work. Who’s laughing now?”
Another industry practice that he said he would like to see abolished is the hiring of actors based on their popularity on social media. “The second change I would like to see is the new norm of choosing actors based on how many followers they have rather than the amount of skill they possess. It is just unfair, because some really talented people might have less followers and some people might not be as talented but they would get through because they’re famous on social media,” he said.
A few days back, Zeeshan was stopped by authorities at the Goa airport after he tried to catch a flight from there in his bathrobe. The actor, who shared the video on his YouTube Channel, was apparently doing it to enter the Guinness World Records. When his attempt is failed, he is heard saying, “Air India staff is a bummer,” in the video.