By Subash Mohapatra
BHUBANESWAR: With the recent involvement of a senior IFS office Rajiv Kumar in a casting couch case in Odisha, brought to light by a sting operation, eyebrows are being raised on the bureaucrat- film industry nexus. Rajiv Kumar is also the financer of Rajya Sabha member Dilip Tirkey’s debut film.
Kumar, has allegedly offered a film career to the victim if she followed his direction. Thus, making it amply clear that casting couch still prevails and this time the advances are from a bureaucrat facilitated by a producer.
Now the situation is peculiar. A hockey player turned politician Dilip Tirkey turns to be an actor for an Odiya film financed and supported by an IFS officer Rajiv Kumar who turns to be a casting couch.
Insiders within the industry on condition of anonymity say that this unholy nexus between politicians-bureaucrats-producers is just a hog wash while something is cooking behind the curtains within the periphery of rooms.
This is not the first time when casting couch has been reported in the Odiya film industry but the way in which involvement of a senior officer has been found hints towards a wider reach and clout of administrative officers have in the film industry.
Interestingly, the Odisha film industry does not yield mega blockbusters like Bollywood and most of the box office collections are better not to be written about but the investment in Odisha film industry is increasing day by day raising suspicion on the money involved and the source of such funds.
Recently, there was much hue and cry in Odisha and the Opposition party workers took to the streets demanding arrest of BJD leader and actor Tattwa Prakash Satpathy alias Papu Pom Pom for sexually harassing a minor girl, but who will protest against the unlawful activity of a senior Bureaucrat and a producer.
Rajiv Kumar, is also said to have funded many films in the past. He is also considered close to the top directors and film producers in Odisha.
In Bollywood, it is not easy to break into big-time if you are not born into a powerful and influential star family. Therefore, aspiring starlets feel the need to develop connections and get themselves a ‘sugar daddy’ in the business who will smoothen their ride to the top.
With desperate aspirants willing to almost throw themselves at their mercy, Bollywood bigwigs are not shy of exploiting the scenario or these junior artistes.
The Indian media has played a major role in revealing instances of the casting couch in B-town. In a sensational sting operation in 2005, trapped famous Bollywood baddie Shakti Kapoor and TV star Aman Verma.
A couple of years back Rani Mukherji’s brother Raja found himself in the thick of trouble when he was arrested for allegedly molesting a TV actor named Priya Mishra who had approached him with a script.
However, the most famous casting couch scandal in B-town could well be a case where the man was wronged. Starlet Preeti Jain created a sensation in 2004 when she accused ace director Madhur Bhandarkar of raping her for many years after making false promises of giving her a film role.