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Surveen Chawla: Directors Wanted to See my Cleavage, Thighs

History of Bollywood – where anything goes – is replete with stories – from sublime to ridiculous, from bizarre to absolute sleaze. Casting couch is a phenomenon as old a Bollywood itself and it is not go to go away any time soon. Thus, sadly for some, the pangs borne by actresses in Bollywood facing the ogling eyes, gouging out their dignity and carving up their bodies in front of their eyes – is just pastime.

Now that India’s #MeToo movement seems to have quietened down, actress Surveen Chawla, now married and mother to a tiny daughter, has come out her own nightmarish casting couch ordeals – which according to her are pretty contemporary.

In a recent video interview reported to Pinkvilla, the actress opened up on this issue of casting couch and said there was a time when a director wanted to see how her cleavage looked, and another one was interested in her thighs. She revealed that the actress had to face the casting couch five times in her career span, thrice in South filmdom and twice in Bollywood.

“A director wanted to see how my cleavage looked. Another director wanted to see how my thighs looked,” Pinkvilla quoted the actress as saying.

“Then came south and that was my biggest blow. I faced casting couch thrice. There was a time I was told to accompany a film director for a recce and I was told ‘I want to know every inch of your body’. I just started ignoring calls from then on.”

She added, “This was another ridiculously big director down south, a National Award-winning director. I had a very long audition there, it almost lasted a shift. I had to do various things – a monologue or saying something impromptu. I was unwell and I returned after the audition. Then the director suddenly offered to come to Mumbai as I was unwell. I found it very creepy and said ‘no, thank you’.

“On a phone call, in which I was not speaking to the director as he could only speak Tamil and no English or Hindi. He spoke to me through someone, maybe a friend. That person told me on the phone that ‘sir needs to know you, he needs to understand you as this film will take a long time to make’. And then he jumped to ‘only till the film and then you can stop’. I very innocently asked him ‘stop what’. So, he said ‘just till the film this will go on; then you can stop’. I still remember my words. I told him that you are knocking on the wrong door. If sir thinks I am talented then I am still willing to work in his film but I cannot barter myself. And that film also didn’t happen.”

She also narrated a contemporaneous incident, “It happened quite recently, last to last year. I had to barge out of an office because of someone trying to insinuate an act and I will never do that,” she went on to add, “One filmmaker to see how my cleavage looks and one filmmaker wants to see how my thighs looked. This kind of stuff happens.”

Hinting at body shaming in the industry, she remembers her experience when she was called overweight. “I went to give this audition and the person told me, ‘You are overweight’. I was just 56 kilos and I thought the person needed glasses,” she quipped.

Her experience in TV didn’t make it easy for her either. “Yes, there was a time when people told me you are overexposed because of television. For some time, I tried to hide it from producers and tell them I did TV only for a year, but I realised later that ‘Why am I doing this?’ Isn’t it going to be easier for a team to get someone who already knows how to do their lines?,” she said.

Actress Surveen Chawla, is best-known for her role in 2014 film Hate Story 2. Surveen debuted in Bollywood with 2011 film Hum Tum Shabana and has also featured in critically-acclaimed films like Ugly and Parched.

Before films, Surveen Chawla was a name to reckon with on the small screen. She became a household name after featuring in the lead role in Kahin To Hoga (2003 to 2007). She followed it up with shows like Kasautii Zindagi Kay and Kaajjal. Surveen simultaneously made a few regional films in this duration, featuring in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil films. Recently, she was seen in Netflix’s popular series Sacred Games as Jojo Mascarenhas — the pimp and friend to Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Ganesh Gaitonde.

Comments on her casting couch story do not seem to side with her much:

 

  • ANONYMOUS1 WEEK AGO

Divas like Jaanvee are displaying to public without anybody asking!

SEP 24, 2019 12:00 PM IST

REPLYREPORT ABUSELIKE (18)UNLIKE (1)

  • ANONYMOUS1 WEEK AGO

 

those things (cleavage and thighs) are easily can be seen in comedy circus.. so whats the problem in showing further

SEP 24, 2019 11:34 AM IST

REPLYREPORT ABUSELIKE (60)UNLIKE (22)

All Directors of films should be required to obtain a a govt license for operating their trade and anyone with a police record or poor reputation should be excluded.

SEP 24, 2019 11:20 AM IST

REPLYREPORT ABUSELIKE (33)UNLIKE (17)

  • ANONYMOUS1 WEEK AGO

@Rajender Upadhyay: there will be no one left in the film industry then ! 🙂

SEP 24, 2019 1:51 PM IST

REPORT ABUSELIKE (16)UNLIKE

  • ANONYMOUS1 WEEK AGO

Be careful, Anurag is same. Ask Huma Qureshi. Anyway the director who asked to show it, he did same to his own mother

SEP 24, 2019 11:09 AM IST

REPLYREPORT ABUSELIKE (14)UNLIKE (16)

  • ANONYMOUS1 WEEK AGO

Why this nautanki, especially from a Northies. As if she doesn’t know what to expect.

SEP 24, 2019 10:51 AM IST

REPLYREPORT ABUSELIKE (40)UNLIKE (24)

  • ANONYMOUS1 WEEK AGO

No more job offers i guess

SEP 24, 2019 10:49 AM IST

  •  -Shiny Singh in Mumbai

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