The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Couch chat

Can a talk on casting couch ever be low on listener count' Never perhaps, for almost everyone is curious about what goes on behind the scenes of glitz and glamour. Saturday saw yet another round of discussion on the much-talked-about topic by a set of people from showbiz and the media, at Rotary Sadan.

'Casting couch: Easy step to stardom', organised by the NGO Ahana and Interact District Council, drew mostly school and college students who dropped by to hear model co-ordinator Sanchita Kushary Bose, actress-turned-painter Piu Sarkar, film-makers Subrata Sen and Sudeshna Roy and Tara Bangla chief Buddhadev Guha. Journalist Utpal Chatterjee acted as the moderator.

Opening speaker Guha felt the casting couch could never ensure success, which requires a combination of merit and luck, before passing on the microphone to Sanchita, who provided interesting glimpses into the glamour world. 'I have seen people compromising to get what they want. But if you don't have talent, you won't get anywhere. And it's a wrong notion that only women fall prey to the casting couch,' she said.

'Self-promotion is very important and there's no denying it. But you should know where to draw the line. Casting couch is a reality and it will be there for a long time,' warned Piu, while Sen claimed he had never faced an indecent proposal. 'I have been told that producers insist on taking particular actresses, but in reality they leave the casting to the director most of the time. A director looks for a face that will suit the character. You need talent and screen presence to make it,' he explained.

It was Sudeshna Roy who spiced up the talk, recounting incidents where she chanced upon producers and actresses on the lookout for opportunities, no holds barred. 'A bad casting even in a small scene can actually ruin your film. But men please be careful too, not only from women but men as well,' she said, as the guys guffawed from the back rows.

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