“Just meet me in this 5-star hotel, we can talk comfortably there in a calm atmosphere and I can assess your acting skills there. You’ll be more at ease in that serene environment, and ace the audition”
If you are in any way associated with the entertainment industry you’ve probably heard this typical speech given by sleazy guys who just want to get into your pants.
This is what an assistant director named Vaibhav, allegedly tried to do to an up-and-coming model and actress Simmran Singh who has over 6,000 followers on Instagram. Her Insta bio instructs people to email her if they want to collaborate.
Presumably, she was wary of guys like him and hence took screenshots of their conversation that happened on Instagram and WhatsApp. The text chain is proof of the casting couch, which is the terrible reality of the entertainment industry.
Reading his text disgusted and angered me so much but this revelation at least helped in uncovering the true nature of this lowly person.
Offering A Role In A Commercial
The man introduced himself by offering her the chance to be supposedly cast on a TV commercial for ‘Biotique India’ for which she would receive INR 45,000.
He boasted about his position as an assistant director who has been a part of at least 25 daily soaps, 7 web-series, 4 movies, and 10+ TV commercials and how this should make her trust him even if they don’t know each other.
The Profile He Asked For
The second screenshot has him asking her about her bust, waist, and hip size and pictures from a ‘bold photoshoot’. Another thing he mentions in the same text is ‘Compromise’.
Like me, Simmran too didn’t understand what he was implying with the term, but this soon gets cleared up with his later texts.
As one might have suspected, by ‘compromise’ he meant forcing her to sleep with him.
I have a better term for people who invite young actresses in hotel rooms, it’s called ‘RAPE’.
Tried Gaining Trust By Listing Serial Names
He bragged about working with various production houses like Balaji Telefilms, Zee5, SOBO Films, Yash Raj Films, Altus Media, etc. to entice her into accepting his offer.
He followed it by giving an even longer list of TV serials he has supposedely been a part of which included CID, Crime Patrol, The Kapil Sharma Show, Naagin, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Yeh Hai Mohbattein, etc, thinking any desperate actress seeking to break into the industry would jump at an offer like this.
But women now know how to be very cautious in cases such as these for they’ve heard far too many horror tales involving casting couch.
Direct Or Audition
It seems that Simmran had previously asked about the selection process. And when the guy asked if she’d like to be cast directly or through audition she stated her preference for an audition.
This, of course, would have shattered all his dreams involving ‘hotel rooms’. So, he tried to convince her into believing how the direct way might be a better option as evident in the texts and stated that there’s no difference between the 2 ways.
He listed the disadvantage in the audition process as then she’d have to compete with 50 other contestants while if she choose the direct way, he’ll meet her personally at a 4 or 5- star hotel.
His Reason For A Meet-up In Hotel
He gave the excuse of not having any studio outside Mumbai as the reason for choosing a hotel, where he would supposedly test her acting skills, dialogue delivery, body language, etc. My eyes were rolling in reaction to this explanation.
Apparently, being a big shot and all, he only works on big projects and hence won’t meet her at any public places as “this isn’t a Tik-Tok video or a short movie”.
I think the worst thing the people on Tik-Tok did was make those videos, but it still doesn’t come anywhere near to people who take advantage of their position.
The Simultaneous Increase In Pay
Simmran pointed in her post how he kept increasing the amount with each offer (the length men go to satisfy their lust). First it was a photoshoot in Delhi for 45k, then he allegedly offered a web-series on Hotstar that paid 17k per episode and when she still didn’t accept his proposal he extended the amount to 20 lakh for “an international brand”.
It seems Mr. Vaibhav believes that 20 lakh should be an attractive enough price to make anyone sacrifice their dignity.
For how could foolish girls who earnestly want their face onscreen, not fall for his trap?
The Takeaway From This Incident
Simmran didn’t mention his username on her post as she feared the vitriol and trouble that she’d be inviting. She explained her reason for publishing the screenshots was to raise awareness and to prevent other women to be goaded into such things.
Some women commented that they’ve had similar encounter with this director but they recovered and didn’t get discouraged by the incident. They all agreed that no role is worth such humiliation.
She tagged all the media outlets he mentioned to inform them about what kind of person they have as their employee. They may even be aware of it but a public outcry might force them to take initiative.
And lastly, it proves that the #MeToo movement was not a witch-hunt. We still need to weed out bad apples like Mr. Vaibhav and have all the auditions recorded without time-lapses to end this practice of casting couch.
I applaud Simmran for not succumbing to his demands and being brave enough to expose this man but this proves how women are still so vulnerable.
The text chain constructs a very negative image of Vaibhav and he hasn’t given any explanation for his behavior. We’re still waiting for his side of the story.
Do you think the entertainment industry can ever become safe for women?
Image Credits: Google Images
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