When Shashi Kapoor Allegedly Exposed Bollywood's Dark Side & Claimed About Male Actors Like Sanjay Khan & Dharmendra Facing Casting Couch By Senior Actresses
Was Dharmendra Allegedly A Victim Of Casting Couch By Senior Actresses When He Made His Debut In Hindi Film? ( Photo Credit – Facebook; IMDb )

The deepest darkest secrets of the Hindi Film Industry have to be dug out through old interviews, magazines, columns and newspaper clips. While some of them might be true others could be a figment of one’s imagination. Be it the magazine reporting those stories or the celebrity spilling the beans. One such shocking yet deeply protected and covered under the sheets story remains of Dharmendra and some of the actors facing what we might have called casting couch today!

In one of his interviews, a veteran actor of the same era confessed in an emotional outburst about how he was lucky enough not to face what other superstars his age had to face at the hands of powerful senior actresses of the industry. However, the admission was rather shocking coming from an actor, who belonged to the first family of the Hindi Film Industry. And this admission seemed to be rather true than mere gossip!

Late actor Shashi Kapoor in one of his interviews, remembering the actresses of his era, revealed the darkest secret of Bollywood regarding Dharmendra. A secret which was well kept till then. In his interview, Shashi Kapoor hinted at the probability of the casting couch, though the term was relatively new in that era.

Telegraph quoted the same via an interview with the celebrated author Bharathi S. Pradhan. In the interview with Shashi Kapoor, it was quoted as, “Thirty years ago, one was naïve enough to wonder why a young man would have to go through the casting couch until Shashi Kapoor pointed out heroes like Sanjay Khan and Dharmendra. ‘You’ve no idea how they were blackmailed by senior actresses when they were newcomers.”

In the same interview, Shashi Kapoor clearly admitted it was the casting couch demands that were not made for him and he felt grateful to his senior actresses for the same. He was touched by a senior actress, who worked with him without making any advances and without using him for their benefit. The memoir in The Telegraph quoted, ” It wasn’t about working with him as much as it was about not making any casting couch demands on him that had really touched Shashi.”

This admission came along with the revelation that what Shashi Kapoor did not face, other actors like Dharmendra and Sanjay Khan had to face. Dharam Ji was a charming young man when he made his debut in 1960. When this charming boy from Punjab made his debut at the age of 25, he was cast opposite a lot of well-established actresses, including Saira Banu, Nutan, and Mala Sinha, but it was his celebrated chemistry with Meena Kumari which hit the headlines for reasons more than being an on-screen pair.

It was reported that Dharmendra and Meena Kumari had a bond that was personal rather than professional. Meena Kumari took the actor under her wings as they were cast in many films together, including Phool Aur Patthar, which was a blockbuster of that era and established the actor as an A-lister. It was then reported that the two actors shared an intimate relationship.

However, reports even suggest that while Dharmendra treated Meena Kumari as his mentor, the actress developed an affinity towards him that she was unwilling to confess. Later the two parted ways once the actor was a successful star himself. Many years later, it was Shashi Kapoor who hinted at the whole situation with a new perspective and called out the uncomfortable situation the younger actors might have faced at the hands of the senior actresses.

Well, none can confirm these gossip and rumours and they might never be talked about again owing to the stature of the actors and actresses involved. However, these little tales, here and there, still exist in interviews and excerpts which confirm that Once Upon A Time, this also happened in Bollywood!

For more such stories, stay tuned to Koimoi.

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