‘Shab’ is a romantic drama directed by National Award Winning director Onir .The lead male Ashish Bisht is playing the role of a model. The film also stars Raveena Tandon, Arpita Chatterjee and Sanjay Suri and is slated to release on July 14. The lead actor of the film Ashish Bisht says casting couch still exists and recounts his experiences of facing it.
“I have faced that a lot in the industry. Whenever I was called by some producers, I was straight away questioned, ‘Kya tum bed pe comfortable ho ?” Ashish said.
He added, “When I was new to the city, even the ladies asked me to sleep with them if I wanted work. They called me home and tried to talk dirty with me. There are some film producers in the industry who irritate the hell out of you with their messages. I feel stuck because if I respond, what do I say? And if I don’t, they will see that I’ve read the message. Even if I dodge the topic, they come back to the same question.”
“There was a known designer. I did not know what kind of project had he called me for. There was no one but him in the room when I reached the venue. He straight away asked me if I was ready to sleep with someone. When I questioned him about it, he just said, ‘If you’re ready to sleep with me, you will get work. That really pissed me off. As it is, as a struggler, one is spending money on traveling for different auditions and I am short on money, and you call me for this,” he added.
He says the industry’s reputation is so bad that when he got “Shab”, people, including his friends, questioned him about his integrity — and especially because he was working in a film by Onir, who has been open about his sexual orientation.“I am lucky that I got to work with Onir… But people have indeed asked me or talked behind my back that ‘Ashish must have or has definitely has compromised to get the project’,” he said.
“I know very well what I have done or not done. I don’t need to clarify on my ‘compromises’. I feel people will always talk as they always need and hunt for something to gossip on. I respect Onir sir a lot. I never expected that I will get a project without compromising, but I am lucky that I did,” Ashish said.
He also spoke up for the LGBTQ community. “Just because a human being is gay (although gay, lesbian, straight all are equal and same), it doesn’t mean that he will want you to sleep with him. The mentality harms the image of the community for no reason and it is completely unfair,” said the Delhi boy, who feels such assumptions are never made when two straight men walk around together.
With the belief that “it takes two to quarrel”, Ashish believes a person “cannot work or last in the industry just on the basis of your willingness to compromise, “as in the end, the camera and the audience decide who will last in the industry”.