Odisha police begins digging into casting couch phenomenon

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 7:

With the phenomenon of casting couch having taken Odisha’s entertainment industry by storm in the wak of the arrest of Choreographer Lubun, the state police has now got into the act of digging out the murky behind-the-scenes happenings in the industry.

casting couch

Odisha police has formed a special police team to investigate the casting couch allegations and plans to raid several studios and question some big names. The police administration plans to deploy the special team in shooting spots and use the intelligence team with female members to source information.

They have become proactive after choreographer Lubun was arrested for raping and shooting the nude video of the act with an aspiring actress.

Some NGOs have joined hands with police to counsel the girls encourage them to tip off the cops if they come to know of any incident of casting couch around them. Odisha police has also assured to keep the name of the victims secret to encourage victims to report such incidents.

During its investigation, the police has already dug out a few more leads to the murky goings-on in the industry. It has found the involvement of a man named ‘Michael’ who was apparently hand on gloves with Lubun in bringing girls from City Light area of Kolkata for shooting and abusing them for their sexual pleasure.

The involvement of another man named Rajaji Mishra has also come to the fore. Mishra used to lure girls from Balasore and Baripada area and used to send them back after satiating his lust and offering them small roles in the TV industry.

The names of senior artists Sritam and Sibashis popped up recently when they were accused of misbehaving and verbally abusing a couple of +2 girl students from Ganjam. The girls were participating in an audition being judged by the duo. The judges verbally abused the girls and evicted them from the audition after they took verbal objection to their inappropriate touches and lewd gestures.

An NGO has sent a notice to the TV channel to rein in the judges following the incident.

“The girls most often don’t share such incidents with their family,” said Abantikia Mahali, a Bengali volunteer working for a NGO.

‘If casting couch doesn’t stop, there would be an endless number of girls who would destroy their lives while falling for the charm of the silver screen,” commented Rani Dash, a volunteer from a NGO from Niladri Vihar.

While some of the actresses are forced into this, many other go for this out of their choice. While some go for it to get their first break, many do it for fresh lease of their professional career. The casting coup exists not only in moviedom, but is equally prevalent in the TV industry.

In a recent case, a senior TV actress was asked to make the compromise in order to bag the role of the leading lady in a movie. Upon denial, she was dropped from the project.

Some of the actors, producers, directors and artist suppliers are, however, at the receiving end of the new mission by the cops and have stopped shooting of their ongoing projects in an attempt to cover up and buy out a cooling off period.

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