Mumbai: After choreographer Saroj Khan and senior Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary, actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha says sexual favours are demanded in and given in both the entertainment and the political world.
"Neither Saroj Khan nor Renuka Chowdhary is wrong. Sexual favours are demanded and given in both the entertainment world and in politics. It's an old and time-tested way of getting ahead in life. 'You please me I'll please you'.
"This has been happening since time immemorial. What is there to get so upset about," Sinha said.
Defending Khan, he said: "Saroj Khan's contribution to choreography and to shaping the careers of Rekha, Madhuri Dixit and the late much-missed Sridevi, was invaluable. Saroj Khan is a legend in her own right.
"She often speaks from her heart and lets emotional correctness rule over political correctness. If she said that girls have to compromise sexually in Bollywood, she must be aware of what goes on."
Sinha himself does not deny the existence of the casting couch.
"I completely agree with both Saroj and Renuka. I know the kind of compromises girls have to make to get into films. Perhaps Sarojji has herself gone through her own pain and humiliation.
"As for politics, I don't know what we can call the casting couch in politics maybe the casting-vote couch. Of course the young aspiring brigade is known to offer sexual favours and of course, the senior brigade is known to accept.
"I am not saying it is right. I would never be part of such a compromise. But we cannot shut our eyes to the reality around us. Don't condemn Sarojji for speaking the truth.
"Condemn those who create a situation where girls and boys feel they have to compromise to get ahead in life."
However, Sinha is quick to point out -- like Khan -- that the casting couch is a personal choice.
"What happens on the couch or wherever two people come together, is a matter of personal choice. No one is forcing any girl or boy to lie down on the couch. You have something to give and you are offering it to someone who is interested. Where is the coercion or compulsion.?"