Actress Sri Reddy has named four celebrities who have allegedly made use of her on the casting couch
Sri Reddy has accused Baahubali actor Rana Daggubati's brother of using her in casting couch.
What compels a woman to protest half nude in front of an office? Desperation? The fact that those in power often refuse to listen to a lone female voice? Well this and many more reasons, claims Telugu actress Sri Reddy. Sri Reddy on 7th March 2018 who went topless in front of the Movie Artistes Association (MAA) at Hyderabad. But to add insult to injury, she has also been asked to vacate her house.
Sri Reddy posted on her Facebook page, "My (house) owner called me and told to vacate the house…what a great person. He works as an IAS officer."
Enquiries revealed that the house in question is in the name of a person related to a bureaucrat. But what happened after the protest is that Sri Reddy was denied membership by the Movie Artistes Association (MAA). Apart from withholding membership, the MAA had also 'socially boycotted' the actress by directing all its 900 members not to work with her after she held a semi-nude protest at their office on Saturday denouncing exploitation and casting couch. Those violating the diktat would risk suspension of their membership, which is mandatory to find work in the industry.
Film critic Kathi Mahesh said, "I differ with you on certain issues and your approach, but I support your campaign against casting couch." This comes at a time while nearly the whole of MAA is united in its stand against Sri Reddy. Meanwhile, Sri reiterated on Monday that her fight against the alleged exploitation of women in Tollywood would continue through her web page, SriLeaks. "I am not doing it for personal gains. I am fighting against the discrimination and exploitation in the industry', she said.
On MAA's decision of denying her a membership and forbidding existing members from working with her, she added, "The Association can ask me to furnish evidence and enquire into my allegations instead of punishing a victim." Sri Reddy has alleged that casting couch is rampant in the Telugu film industry. She said, "I am a victim. One of the producers' sons used me in the studio. Studio belongs to the government; they have assigned the property to the guy. Why is the government giving studios?"
The men who have been named
Kona Venkat :The actress claimed that leading writer and director Kona Venkat had asked her to meet at a guest house and promised to introduce her to VV Vinayak. The actress claims that he sexually exploited her. Kona Venkat has responded to her allegations on Twitter:
I'm shocked with some allegations made by one actress against some film personalities including me.. I demand the government to conduct through police investigation in these allegations and punish whoever are guilty.. Truth must prevail ?? legal action follows!!— kona venkat (@konavenkat99) April 11, 2018
It's really pity that film industry and film personalities have become soft target to many people who are trying to gain cheap publicity... I definitely support taking Telugu artists in our films.. In Geethanjali u find only Telugu artists. But this is unacceptable. I condemn it.— kona venkat (@konavenkat99) April 11, 2018
Sekhar Kammula: Sri Reddy had indirectly claimed that he was involved in casting couch. The director responded to her allegations and threatened to take legal action. Here is his statement released on Twitter:
I could never imagine in my wildest dreams that a woman whom I don't know, have not seen or never spoken to in person or on the phone can suddenly make these baseless allegations.— Sekhar Kammula (@sekharkammula) April 3, 2018
Even as Sri Reddy's 'revelations', along with photos have rocked the Telugu film industry, she is being constantly maligned.The description of the acress reads as 'controversial' in most newspaper headlines. What does that imply? That she is known to 'use' her mouth to say things that are not in alignment with what other people like. As if that description validates the alleged casting couch she was subjected to.
Whether or not Sri Reddy's allegations are fabricated, usually a woman who displays her 'virtue' (read breasts) so shamelessly cannot be kept in one's house after all. Of course ideas like it was done to protest does not count.But that is not to say that she could not have displayed them otherwise. But she has been asked to move because apparently she was a victim of casting couch. But I suppose all that jumped out from her allegations is the word' sex' and from her protest, the highlighted word was 'nude.'
But a simple search on Google reveals how women find it difficult to find lodgings in a lot of cities. Censorship and judgment are offered by potential landlords like chai and pakode. Under such circumstances, why would a woman want to raise her voice against someone.
It is not always the simple matter of fighting only in your professional space. Often one has to remember about things where will the next month's rent come from? Or where would one go if asked to vacate a house in a city that is unfamiliar.Whether or not you agree with Sri Reddy's form of protest, don't you agree that one has to be pushed to a certain extent to want to bare-all because no one listens until it says 'nude.'
Even now, as pictures and statements are being circulated, Sri Reddy's choice of having sex with these people is enough to condemn her. Sri Reddy says,"I'm here to become an actress at any cost. I want to become a top starlet and that is my goal. So to achieve it, I wanted to do it. I slept with the producer's son as I need an offer. But even after using me, they didn't offer any role."
The entire debate has of course become a moral debate, with comments that seem to support her, while urging her not be 'shameless' about her protest. 'Good' Telugu girls don't do things like topless protest, 'good' Telugu girls have responsibility towards how the culture will get projected in front of others.
Of course 'good' Telugu men, men in power in the entertainment industry seem to have no such moral obligations. Reddy's sexual choices are under scanner rather than the gravity of her allegations, if true.