“I have had a casting couch (harassment) experience when I was 18 and on my first Kannada film. It did leave me so scared and petrified that I remember me crying. When I told my dance choreographer about what happened, he told me that if I didn’t know how to handle this, I should leave,” said actor Sruthi Hariharan who was one of the panelists at the ‘Sexism in Cinema’ session in the India Today South Conclave held in Hyderabad.
The actor, who predominantly does Kannada films, also revealed that she stopped receiving good offers from Tamil after she berated a top Tamil producer for abuse, four years after she was harassed first in Sandalwood.
“This was 4 years after my first experience. One of the leading producers in Tamil Cinema bought the rights to my Kannada film and offered me the same role in the Tamil remake. He said, and I’m quoting him verbatim, “we are five producers and we will exchange you however we want.” I retorted by saying that I carry a slipper with me in my hand,” said the actor too much applause.
Highlighting the appalling sexism in the film industry, film editor Bina Paul, also a panelist, observed that the only way to end it was for more women to enter cinema.