Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe on Monday asked the Maharashtra government to take concrete steps to stop exploitation of child artists working in the film and television industry.
Speaking in the Legislative Council, she said committees should be set up to protect child artists after claims about prevalence of the practice of “casting couch” in the Marathi film industry and ill-treatment of child artists in the movie and TV industry.
Raising the issue through Point of Propriety soon after the Question Hour, Gorhe said the government should take steps to ensure protection of underage actors.
The Sena MLC made a reference about the sensational claim made by actor Daisy Irani, who featured in a string of Hindi films as a child star in 1950s, that she was molested by her guardian when she was six years old.
“Irani claimed when she was six years old, her patron took her to Chennai (then Madras) for a film shoot and one night forcefully dumped her in a hotel room and threatened to beat her with a waist belt,” the legislator said.
Gorhe said soon after Irani’s sensational disclosure, actress Girija Oak claimed the practice of “casting couch” was still prevalent in the Marathi film industry.
She said Oak also claimed only those girls willing to make a “compromise” were called for screen tests.
“These disclosures have raised the issue of security of child artists. Time has come to take a serious look at the safety and security of child artists,” Gorhe said.
The government should take concrete steps and set up committees for their protection, she added.