Tamil actress spills the beans on casting couch in South cinema

Varalaxmi Sarathkumar says the casting couch has been rampant right from the start.

Whenever there is talk of any film industry, be it Bollywood or other regional ones, the casting couch never skips a mention. It’s a taboo to even talk about it even though almost everyone inside and outside the industry knows how it is plagued by gender disparity and sexual exploitation of women. Amidst all the hue and cry over women’s safety after popular Malayali actor’s abduction and molestation, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar has gathered courage and spoken about the casting couch within the industry.

Daughter of veteran actor Sarathkumar, Varalaxmi spoke out about her own experience with this phenomenon prevalent in the industry. She took to Twitter to voice herself and opened up about how the head of a leading TV channel asked her for sexual favours. She further speaks about how when women speak up about such things, they are given the retort of how they knew the industry functions this way and it is this normalization and acceptance of sexual exploitation that she has raised her voice against. In her letter here, she has set an example with her courageous public revelation of an untoward experience.

Varalaxmi further told The News Minute that women do not speak up since they are embarassed of having to do all this just to get work. She makes a lot of sense when she says that several women do not have the choice to speak up as it might tarnish their image and take away from them the work they have. The actress has made her own experience public in the hope that this will make actresses realize that such harassment needs to be spoken about.

Varalaxmi expresses that this is something women face in every profession and the fact that the harassers feel it’s alright to do this because it has been happening for very long now. She is clear about how the change cannot be ushered in overnight but will occur if all women come together and speak up.

Now, don’t all we women know what she is talking about makes perfect sense and that it’s not how things should be? Rape is only one kind of abuse women go through, sexual harassment at workplaces and molestation are some others and often more difficult to come out with for the fear of people not believing us. Maybe it indeed is high time women raise their voice against sexual exploitation, because no matter what it’s never okay.