Ram Charan condemns casting couch

Chennai: Telugu superstar Ram Charan Teja will never approve of casting couch in the film industry.

Ram, who made his Bollywood debut with Priyanka Chopra-starrer “Zanjeer” in 2013, made the comment on CNN-News18’s talk show “Now Showing” where he shared his opinion on casting couch and the power of social media.

In the wake of #MeToo movement after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was exposed for sexual harassment, Telugu actress Sri Reddy took to the streets in protest against casting couch, sparking a war of words with Ram’s uncle and filmmaker-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan.

“I am not talking particularly about her (Sri Reddy). But overall, to hear this word anywhere, in any industry — whether in politics or business industry — doesn’t sound right to anyone. Nobody would encourage it, especially when I have five of my sisters in the same field, I would personally not want to pursue it or witness such a disaster in the industry,” said Ram.

“We have to always evaluate whatever we hear, whether it is from a great guy or a girl who is working hard in this industry. We can’t blindly go without trying to find any sense behind it. So, I guess this particular case has helped us form a committee in our industry to look into such matters,” he added.

Last month, Movie Artists Association (MAA) President Shivaji Raja said a committee comprising senior actors and filmmakers of Telugu film industry would study complaints of sexual harassment.

Ram, a recipient of two Nandi Awards, said the panel was looking into Sri Reddy’s charges.

“Now they are really looking into it to find out how much of this is true and if it is true, then serious action will be taken and that gives us comfort and a sign of security that my sisters too can work in the industry because I am not going to be with them always… They will have to be by themselves. So, there is a committee now and I really want to take this issue to the committee to decide,” said Ram.

Before the committee was formed, Sri Reddy created a sensation by resorting to strip protest against casting couch in Tollywood in front of the office of Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce here on April 7.

The actress had also questioned the Telangana government and MAA on the absence of a Committee Against Sexual Harassment.

MAA had not only dismissed her allegations but also declared that she would not be given its membership under any circumstances. It said that action would be taken against any artiste who would share screen space with her.

Following the Commission’s observation, the MAA President said they had no grudge against Sri Reddy but as her allegations hurt the artistes, it was decided to impose the ban. He said all 900 members of MAA were free to work with her.