Madhur Bhandarkar-Preeti Jain Case: Question of Casting Couch Comes Back To Light

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Madhur Bhandarkar and Preeti Jain
Madhur Bhandarkar and Preeti Jain
Madhur Bhandarkar and Preeti Jain
Madhur Bhandarkar and Preeti Jain

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court of India has dismissed charges of rape against director Madhur Bhandarkar. The national award winning filmmaker has received respite in the Preeti Jain rape case nine years after the case was filed.

In July 2004, struggling model and starlet Preeti Jain had accused Bhandarkar of raping her on the pretext of marrying her and casting her as an actress in a film. The case went to court, and only in 2011, the Magistrate court had granted anticipatory bail to the filmmaker.

However, late last month, the Bombay High Court on Thursday rejected the application of filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar to stay the process against him in a Mumbai metropolitan court in the Preeti Jain rape case.

Bhandarkar then sought to seek relief from the Supreme Court, after the Bombay High Court rejected his application to stay the case.

The Supreme Court ruling has just come in, providing an immense sigh of relief for the director of acclaimed films like ‘Fashion ‘, ‘Page 3’ and recently ‘Heroine’. Apparently, Jain too has withdrawn the case, declaring that she is no longer interested in pursuing it when it has dragged over the last nine years.

Of course, the accusation of the casting couch is the film’s industry’s ugliest secret. From time immemorial, we have seen cases of actresses allegedly being physically exploited by filmmakers. A host of directors/ producers have been implicated, ranging from A-list filmmakers, right down to B-grade and C-grade film directors, but invariably these rumours are circulated in hushed whispers.

These stories however, always get brushed under the carpet for fear of backlash and social stigma.

At the same time Bollywood is not unknown to wannabe actresses defaming the name of established stars and directors, to gain their 15 minutes of fame. Preeti Jain’s sudden volte face seems fishy and can be questioned in light of amendments in the rape case.

One can only wonder: Has pressure been applied from the top-down, and attempts been made to silence her voice?

Or was this just a desperate, most pathetic attempt by a struggling heroine to grab a few eyeballs, and ensure she is in the limelight?

For those who know Bhandarkar, and are near and dear to him, can never imagine the director committing such a heinous crime.