Wading into the controversy over veteran Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan’s comments defending casting couch culture in Indian film industry, former Rajya Sabha member and Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury on Monday said Parliament, like other workplaces, is not immune to sexual misconduct. “Yes, it is the bitter truth. The whole film industry may get up in arms against me. This happens everywhere. In workspaces, don’t imagine that Parliament is immune or any other workspace is immune. Look at the world today, top actresses have taken so long to come out and say #MeToo. It’s time India also stands up and says #MeToo,” Renuka Chowdhury told news agency ANI.
A video of Saroj Khan’s interaction with media persons went viral on social media and television networks in which she was heard saying the film industry at least provides jobs and does not abandon women after “raping” them. “This has been happening since time immemorial. Anyone and everyone tries to get cozy with every girl. Even people in the government do it. Why are you after the film industry? At least the industry provides employment. It is not as if you are raped and abandoned. (Yeh chala aa raha hai baba aadam ke zamaane se. Har ladki ke upar koi na koi haath saaf karne ki koshish karta hai. Government ke log bhi karte hain. Tum film industry ke peeche kyun pade ho? Woh kam se kam roti toh deti hai. Rape karke chhod toh nahi deti),” Khan is heard as saying in the video.
The 69-year-old choreographer made the remarks in response to a question from a journalist in Sangli on Telugu actor Sri Reddy stripping in protest against the casting couch culture in the Telugu film industry. “It’s upon the girl – what does she want to do? If you don’t want to be caught, you won’t. When you are an artiste, why will you sell yourself? Don’t say anything about the film industry. It’s like our mother-father. (Yeh ladki ke upar hai ki tum kya karna chahti ho. Tum uske haath mein nahi aana chahti ho toh nahi aaogi. Tumhare paas art hai toh tum kyun bechoge apne aap ko? Film industry ko kuch mat kehna, woh humaara mai-baap hai),” she said. Khan is a national award-winning choreographer who is known for famous songs such as “Ek Do Teen” and “Choli ke Peeche“.