On Monday, actress Ankita Lokhande narrated her experience with the ‘casting couch’ in the Hindi film industry. She is the former partner of the deceased actor Sushant Singh Rajput and was the star of Ekta Kapoor’s hit TV show Pavitra Rishta.
Ankita has been one of the most popular and highest paid TV actors before she ventured out for movies.
In an interview with Bollywood bubble, the ‘Pavitra Rishta’ fame actress said that she encountered predatory men twice during her career. Ankita Lokhande recounted that her first experience with the ‘casting couch’ was when she very young, in her late teens. She was called for an audition in a South Indian film. She was asked to ‘compromise’ and sleep with the producer’ to bag a role in the film.
The actress emphasised, “I feel I am a very strong personality. I don’t let anybody look at me also like that. I’m like ‘Don’t you dare to do that.’ Yes, I have faced it once, no, I think I have faced it twice.” Ankita Lokhande recalled being ‘naive’ and asking “Which type of compromise does your producer want? Do I have to go to parties or dinners?”
On realising that the offer was to sleep with the producer, she told the person, “I think your producer wants a girl to sleep with, not a very talented girl to work with.” The man apologised and said that he would try to give her the role in the movie. However, a miffed Ankita Lokhande clarified, “Even if you try casting me now, I’m not interested in your film.” Following that, she left the place.
Her second encounter with the casting couch took place after she had already become a popular actress in the TV show ‘Pavitra Rishta.’ She said, “When I got back again into films, I felt it again, just shaking hands with that person. I don’t want to take names, he was a big actor.” Lokhande added, “I got those vibes, and I quickly got my hands away from him. I knew it, ab mera yahaan nahi hoga (it will not work out for me), because it is a give and take thing. I understood and I left from there because it was not for me.”
The actress made her Bollywood debut with Kangana Ranaut’s film ‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’ in 2019. She was also seen in a supporting role in ‘Baaghi 3’.