Vidya Balan shares her casting couch experience and how she protected herself from it

Vidya Balan in a recent interview talked about her experience with sleazy predators in the industry.
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Actress Vidya Balan says she protected herself against "sleazy predators" and "casting couch" in the industry.

During an interview on the CNN-News 18 show "Straight Talk with Vidya Balan", Vidya opened up about the clamour around sexual harassment in showbiz after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was named by multiple actresses and models for rape and assault.

The question about why the women remained silent has been put up multiple times.

According to Vidya, "You can't judge when women should speak about it or why they didn't speak about it earlier", read a statement on excerpts from her conversation.

Asked if the "culture of silence" has existed in the Indian film fraternity as in the west where the casting couch and sleazy predators are an open secret, she said: "I'm a living example of the fact that not everyone is a predator".

"I come from a privileged background, so I always gave the vibe that I don't need this, I'm only doing this as a passion, I'm very serious about this... But I won't react with people in a way that was personal. Almost err on the side of caution. Maybe it's also a middle-class thing. If you smelt a rat, you'd rather keep away. That was my way of protecting myself.

"But I have heard of people who had been absolutely fine with me, going and threatening, propositioning other women and I would tell some of them you shouldn't keep quiet about it and they would say, 'I don't want to be known for this controversy'. And there's also fear that other producers won't give you work. It seems like if you speak about it, people won't want to work with you.

"I always thought that at that level with that kind of success, female actors in Hollywood would not keep quiet and tolerate sexual harassment. But maybe at that level you have more to lose or as much to lose," Vidya added.

The "Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh" actress, who has portrayed strong women-oriented roles on screen, says she has not faced the casting couch herself, but said it is so because she deliberately walked away before anyone could say anything.

"You get a vibe and I would walk away because I wanted to be safe. Having said that, whatever you want to do for the sake of your career or your life, no one should be judging you either way. You would be blamed previously, so people wouldn't talk about it because fingers would be pointed at you," said the 38-year-old actress.

The episode will be aired on Thursday.

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Comments

Hmmm... “I didn’t do it, I got through on my talent” ... yeah, i don’t think there’s anyone who’d want to say otherwise. I mean, is there someone who said they used the casting couch to get ahead ?

Frankly, talent is the last thing Bollywood has much off. You need to be someone’s son or daughter or related to someone important. If not, the couch helps.

The comment section here is very interesting. Most people have found a way to conveniently blame women for being sexually harassed at workplace, and playing the victim card. I wonder why nobody is asking who are these industry men who sexually harass/ proposition women in exchange for work? Condemning these men, and naming and shaming these unscrupulous people would seem more appropriate, no?

Its women like vidya who claim” they dint give out such vibes” who put the onus of sexual Harris at workplace on the woman and not on the man. This kind of holier than thou attitude is terrible esp coming from a women married to a man who is married twice before

She is pretending

HE HE.....everybody tries to portray themselves as better than everybody else. Where was her good sense when she decided to have an affair with a guy who was in a 5 year, high profile relationship with a star or why does she tolerate her husband's infedility and forgetting that her she got protection during her dating as well because of her husband.....I guess she's no different from the rest of us after all, only she forgot.

This photo is from her marathi film 'Albela'..

She said it - she came from a privileged background. Not everyone does, and some people do have to resort to these things unwillingly because they have no choice. Also maybe she was smart about it and avoided situations, but she also had a powerful boyfriend PRIOR to getting married, so she had some protection there. On top of that there are some women who are very young and trying to get into the industry - like Kangana was when she was 18 and ran into the wrong crowd. Sure there are some people that are ready to use their body, but not everyone is and when you have sacrificed so much to make it... you can become desperate and not know anywhere else to go. Instead of all the comments here blaming the women, you should think firstly that often girls from village backgrounds are not educated because the family only had the capability to educate one person and they choose the boy. Secondly India has an obsession with Bollywood where you only glorify actors instead of glorifying doctors and lawyers and police officers. You treat all those people as if they are corrupt arseholes. So of course, everyone wants to go from rags to riches and get the kind of love, money and fame that you get as an actor. So instead of saying girls shouldn't put out, you should say, we need to focus on women's education. We need to focus on reducing corruption. We need to support women so they don't feel like they have to resort to this. You should be saying that powerful men should be good people and not do these things. And you should DEFINITELY be against nepotism because if every girl had a real fighting chance at getting into the film industry through auditions and casting then casting couch would not be an issue.

Sorry but Kangna comes from one of the richest families in Himachal. She is free to choose watever she wants but dont play the victim card decades later. She was not. Especially, after her later stalking patterns.

Kangna didnot stop her dirty ways after tasting success. She was with Salman, Sanjay n Ajay after that. So, cut the crap.

To each his own. She was not too ambitious. Didn’t compromise. Some might have done. Just what I don’t like is crying victim after everything. Putting blame on someone else

why not? If you are groped on street and thats the only street you have to go to, for wherever you are going, talking about it later makes the heinous crime less heinous.The reason women or anyone doesnt talk about sexual harassment is people judge the victim first like you are doing it right now. IT takes courage to come forward and its not easy.

Do you think Vidya, Madhuri, Juhi have the freedom to come forward and speak the truth? Truth is Indian society still sides with the abusers , not the victims, and so I would take Vidya's story with a grain of salt.

Some women are hell bent on making it big regardless of the consequence to their pride or dignity ... you scratch my back & I'll scratch yours. Look at actresses doing skin flicks or that atrocious Big Boss for attention, not all are talented or have screen presence .They do tasteless things to hang on to a tenuous spot of fame - Poonam Pandey people . Both Kangana & Katrina are in the same boat by latching on to men much older than them for work , a sort of cream pot love . The difference is one is truly talented , the other had looks & a very powerful man to guide her . If you send out vibes of being ready to do anything for success , to a large extent u will be taken for granted in Bollywood (or anywhere else for that matter ). This behaviour affects the talented few who are expected to put out bcos of their less talented sisters.

no need to take name only on ones assumptions

All these girls who enter Modelling or Acting are very open minded themselves. They will themselves throw at men, show everything, do anything just for limelight. Bcoz they hv no belief in their own talent. This is a bitter fact. How can a consensual thing be called harassment? It was a choice they made to get something through short cut. If u are dignified n not greedy like Vidya, Anushka, Deepika, u will not lose urself for a role or money.

hope her hubby has changed his ways.rumors about him too

Ouch she looks like a couch...lol

she is looking like geeta bali here

Vidya is one of the most intelligent and well spoken actors we have. She speaks so eloquently and has a certain grace and dignity about her that's unparalleled by noone

Kangana cud never had cleared a single audition with a mediocre body, face n no dancing skill n no dialogue delivery. She used married guy Pancholi to get her first break n dumped him after getting success. Both are partners in crime. Neither are victims.

A woman with talent, self esteem n confidence like Vidya will never compromise.

u say she couldnt clear an audition but she found success, she is one of the best actors in India and she deserves to be here ... so btfo

She's kind of blaming the victims by saying that it didn't happen to her because she had high values and erred on the side of caution, implying that those women were not of high character and were careless. Not cool Vidya.

Women who sleep their way are NOT of high character n careless. If men are sleazy, so are the women. Lets not be hypocritical about it.

It's not that black or white, you don't get it. Often those girls are young and naive, have no other options, have no one to fall back on, they believe directors who tell them that they will only get a role in their film if they give in, all actresses have gone that path, and the Weinstein types don't give them much choice, they are coerced and intimidated. There is a total imbalance of power. How many would turn down a part in a YRF movie or a Yash Johar film, Shakti Kapoor had mentioned their names too in secret audio. The women are taken advantage of, no other way to look at it.

Young n Naive girls dont enter Bollywood. Only those willing to expose n do anything enter it. It is better to die poor with dignity than to live in riches by sleeping around. These women did not want to stand for auditions n instead used their bodies for shortcut.

the best way to protect yourself from sexual harassment in bollywood is to be born a starkid or marry a starkid. even then it doesnt protect you from other forms of harassment. i heard that the malyalam actress who was harassed by paid criminals by dileep was actually a cinematographers daughter.

Like her even though She is Aunty No 1

However, majority of the roles she’s portrayed have been quite trashy.

She is one of the few that made it on talent and hard work alone, esp coming from South where talent does not matter, but fair skin does.

Well that's what happened to Mahima Chaudhary. She spoke out and overnight nobody wanted to cast her. She was beautiful and talented but was outcasted.

If u keep fighting with ur colleagues in ur office or ur boss, wont you be fired? Same happened with Mahima. People are not obliged to tolerant starry airs n tantrums of flop actresses

Mahima was thrown out bcoz she betrayed the very person who gave her the break and kept fighting with Govinda n Chadrachur Singh. Nobody will like to work with self centred n difficult persons who bring more drama than audience to theatres. Nobody is irreplaceable in Bollywood.

As if women who enter Bollywood are holy angels with morals. Most are gold diggers, home breakers, publicity hungry persons who will do anything to come up in life.

I hv no sympathy for women who themselves want to take the easy route to bag roles and then act like some abla nari years later. Nobody put a gun on their head, did they? They cud hv said NO. But, their own greed for money made them compromise. Which is why i respect women like Anushka n Vidya who stood in line for auditions and bagged roles. Unlike those like Kangana who slept her way using Pancholi to get a break.

Gangster was fantastic but you really have to pity the woman who needs a forgotten and not very successful Aditya Pancholi. Also, as she says she wasn't exactly flooded with film offers after the film. So stop with the judgement.

No sympathies for self centred, materialistic, opportunistic women who will break families just to uplift their own careers

Big lier. Without casting couch, no chance in Bollywood. Rest is BS.

Miss Balan would have been legendary hade She come from à different era like the 40,50,... She is very beautifull and can act... her and Kangna would be great in à Female centric comedy....

Vidya auditioned for 100's of films and waited years before she got her break. She is the real deal. She is the one who made it solely on her talent.

why didn't u support Kangy and Tisca Chopra then, the ones that did speak out? Scared of Roshans?

Women who are sensitive should sit at home.
Every profession has good and bad people

Now she is acting as holier than thou..she did go through a lot at the start of her career, apart from being labelled jinx coz none of her movies took off initially

Lies. That's all I'm gonna say on this, coz it's not true and too many people know that.

Lol someone wanted to do things to her. Must've been once off

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