'Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi' actor narrates harrowing experience with the casting couch

Newcomer Saba Bukhari has also accused veterans of nepotism

Entertainment Desk March 25, 2021

In a country with more than 210 million people, most Pakistanis rely on TV for entertainment. But many are still unaware that the popular medium is tainted with allegations of sexual harassment.

Most recently, Dil Nah Umeed Toh Nahi actor Saba Bukhari opened up about her experience with the casting couch and revealed all the friendly (false) advice she has received from various men and directors in the industry. She said their words “broke her from the inside.”

Following this, in a recent conversation with BBC Urdu, the aspiring actor elaborated on the allegations she posed. “On a call with me they said, we will give you a good character and good payment, but what will you give us in return,” recalled Bukhari. “I thought they wanted money and I told them they can keep my money. But as soon as they said they wanted me to sleep with them, I felt like someone had pulled the ground from under my feet. I panicked and shut the phone,” she added.

When told how bold it was of her to call out issues of such magnanimity at this budding stage, Bukhari said, “I didn’t even have much reach on my Insta. I just shared whatever was on the top of my mind when I was told it’s good to be more social if I wanted more offers.”

In the process, Bukhari also accused some veterans in the entertainment industry of nepotism. Recalling her encounter with one such individual, she shared, “This one time, a senior actress was sitting beside me when we were waiting for our next scene. All of a sudden she said, ‘samajh nahi aata, zara sa chehra hota nahi hai or aa jati hain moun utha kar’ (I fail to understand, such an average looking face and they show up here to act).”

She then reinstated how some had also urged her to quit while others would only promote the work of their relatives and children to secure better roles for them, leaving aspiring performers like herself with secondary roles.

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