Veteran choreographer Saroj Khan’s comments on the casting couch culture of the film industry were found distasteful by many. Even though she apologised for her comments later, this opened a can of worms that shone light upon the ingrained culture of sexism and harassment in the workplace. Hollywood is undergoing a revolution at the moment, thanks to the Me Too moment that encouraged men and women to come forward with stories of abuse and harassment that hampered their careers and lives. With Bollywood’s Dark Secret, a BBC World News documentary that will be aired this weekend, actors Radhika Apte and Usha Jadhav have come forward with their harrowing experiences in the film industry.
Usha Jadhav is a National Award-winning actor who rose to fame after she appeared in the 2012 film Dhag. Directed by Shivaji Lotan Patil, this film got Usha a National Film Award for Best Actress. The official citation of her award read, “As a rustic housewife in an unlikely setting of a cremation ground, the actor is excellent in doing full justice to her character.”
This was Usha’s first role in a Marathi film. Before that, she had appeared in a few Hindi films like Madhur Bhandarkar’s Traffic Signal and Chandan Arora’s Striker. Usha has also appeared in Bhoothnath Returns and Veerappan.
Usha Jadhav was raised in a simple Maharashtrian family in Kolhapur. After she finished her junior college, Usha moved to Pune and started working at a travel company but her heart was always in acting and so she moved to Mumbai to pursue her dreams. She got a day job and got into the cycle of auditioning for various projects. Usha was last seen in the Indo-Australian film Salt Bridge, which was directed by Abhijit Deonath.
Usha’s statements in the recent BBC documentary show a side of the film industry that is usually brushed under the carpet but there are only a few who have the courage to speak about it.