Rajeev Khandelwal has delivered some fine performances in movies like Shaitan and Table No. 21. However, the actor failed to make his mark in Bollywood, despite being a good actor. Recently, the actor has expressed his views on casting couch in the entertainment industry.
Rajeev believes that those who fall prey to the casting couch are equally responsible, as they always have the option to say no. Rajeev also revealed that he was once approached for casting couch by a big filmmaker in exchange of a two-film deal, before making his Bollywood debut.
Rajeev was asked if such people should be called out, Rajeev told Hindustan Times in an interview, “No, I don’t think so at all. It’s not just about that person, but the one who gives in to the casting couch is equally responsible. How can you say a woman is being exploited because she doesn’t mind getting exploited. Then she talks about the casting couch because she thinks the other man was more powerful. No, somewhere you lacked confidence, you lacked self-belief. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been allowed. Casting couch is not rape where you are forced upon. What I understand from the casting couch is that you are subjected to a situation where you get some benefit out of it. One who is exploited is probably a weaker person, one who didn’t have enough confidence that they can do without it”.
Rajeev said he chose to enter Bollywood with a small budget film Aamir, in which he played the lead role, rather than accepting the two-film deal. “In my case, I experienced someone trying to exploit me but I didn’t give in. I said my self-confidence is huge and I won’t remain workless if you don’t give me work. I will probably get work on my own terms and conditions and I did,” he said.
He added, “Should that person be shamed? No. He didn’t rape me, he didn’t do anything offensively. He just gave me an option and the choice was mine”. However, the actor wants action against those who cross the line. “Those who rape and those who exploit the situation because the person has no other choice” should be named and shamed.
On the work front, Rajeev can be currently seen in a Voot original called Marzi: A Game of Lies. He will next be seen in the play titled Court Martial. It will premiere on April 26th on Zee Theatre.