The Indian Film Industry is the largest producer of movies compared to anywhere else in the world. Because of the different regional units that make up the Indian industry, the number of movies produced in India crosses well over a thousand movies per year, which is much more than the leading film industry of the world, Hollywood.
But as it is said – “All that glitters is not gold” – and this is true for the film industry of India too. In different intervals of time, several allegations have risen against the industry which points towards evils like favouritism, sexism, nepotism and the presently burning issue of the casting couch.
When we look at the industry we always look with a feeling of awe and wonder. We, who have not related with it anywhere, except for watching the movies, fail to see what lies underneath the shiny surface, behind all the Glamor and popularity on which our celebrities ride. But although it does not concern us, we need to know nothing can be perfect, everything has its own shady and darker side, a parallel reality which is so well hidden that we often overlook it.
The issues of nepotism and sexism have always existed in the industry. Although the ‘big – shots’ of the industry refuse to accept it, we can easily see it if we trace the lineage of our actors and actresses. But here we also have to consider the fact that although nepotism gives them their ‘big break’ it is mostly their own talent which helps them to survive and grow in this ruthless and competitive industry.
Sexism is openly seen if we look at the name casting and payment done for each film. The hero’s name always appears first on the screen, even though the heroine may have the dominating part. Also, if we compare the rates charged for the films, the actor’s salary /pay is more in most of the cases. There are only a few actresses in the industry whose pay rivals that of their co-actors.
The next issue on my list is that of the casting couch. Different people from the industry at different points of time have said that this evil exists in our film industry. Although no names are taken, it is said that very often the prominent directors, producers and casting members ask the debutants sexual favours in exchange for casting them in a production. This issue is one of the most sensitive issues of the present day after many reputed and also new actresses and actors have spoken about it. Yes, we read it correctly, the inhumane practice of casting couch is carried out not only for the females but male members of the industry too.
BBC is all set to release a documentary that is based on this subdued issue of the Indian Film Industry that will be aired on Saturday afternoon, April 28. With a runtime of 20 minutes, the documentary where many Indians actors and actresses have spoken about their experiences with the casting couch will be shown on BBC World News.
In the end, all I hope for is that these evils cease to exist and that the industry which gives employment to thousands of Indians may rise pure and prestige, washing away all the stains that little and dirty its surface today. We wish to see an industry that values talent and hard work over everything else in the years to come.