On September 8, Mumbai Mirror broke the story of how boys and girls were asked to smooch each other at the Balaji office, if they were interested in being cast for a forthcoming show. A distraught Trupti Shukla, who auditioned at the Balaji office last month for the same project, is rather shaken up. â€œI need to tell you what transpired when I went there,â€ she told Mumbai Mirror yesterday.Trupti says she auditioned at Sankraman (Goregaon) a couple of months ago for a show based on the fashion industry for Balaji. â€œAfter a few days, I got a call from a girl informing me that I had been shortlisted and that I should come to the Balaji office at Andheri. The show was meant to be something on the lines of an MTV Roadies or Splitsvilla. However, I was shocked when she told me that I was supposed to come in â€˜minimal clothingâ€™. My mother was flabbergasted but I still went. I did not adhere to the instructions.â€
Describing what she witnessed, Trupti says, â€œMany girls hadnâ€™t come in skimpy clothes but they had got some extra outfits that they were changing into. They soon changed into some rather revealing outfits. I, for my part, had worn jeans and a full-sleeved shirt; I hadnâ€™t taken a change of clothing. Thus, I waited my turn in the very outfit that I had worn.â€
Things got nasty soon enough. Trupti claims, â€œWe were told that we had to meet Vikas Gupta (project head) â€˜one-on-oneâ€™. He was wearing a T-shirt and bermudas. The first question he asked me was how good I would be at smooching someone. I fumbled. The second question was equally revolting. He asked me how good I would be at carrying off a swimsuit. I told him that I had come there to do some performance-oriented role and this was not something that fit the bill. Vikas then replied that there was a lot of performance-oriented stuff that I will be doing in the show, but smooching and donning a swimsuit would be one of the requirements. I was also asked what my take was on a 25-year-old girl making love to a 17-year-old boy. I failed to fathom the logic. After such questions, I told Vikas that I was leaving and walked out. Many girls left like I did too, but many also did the kissing shots in the next room.â€
â€œI am extremely shocked. More than shocked, I am disappointed. Where has the creativity gone? Are actors and actresses going to be judged by how well they smooch and how well they can carry off a swimsuit?â€ Trupti exclaimed, her anger rising, â€œWhy were we not briefed that we would be asked such embarrassing questions? I had asked them for a brief prior to the audition but the girl on the line merely said that she knew nothing about the role.â€
Well Trupti, those are some murky waters you claim to have paddled through. Whoever said tinsel town was a cakewalk? But make sure you never kiss and tell. Thatâ€™s the golden rule.
Project head, Vikas Gupta clarifies
Q.What is the show about, for which aspirants who auditioned were asked to kiss strangers?
A. We canâ€™t say anything yet.
Q.Have you received any backlash from the contestants or their parents?
A. No. Everyone was in the loop.
Q. Apart from smooching, why were the girls asked if they would be comfortable wearing a swimsuit?
A. I didnâ€™t ask them anything about a swimsuit. They were asked only about the kiss. Smooch nahin kaha, kiss kaha tha.
Q. Did you meet the contestants on a one-on-one basis?
A. Yes. But not everybody. Only those who were shortlisted.
Report By: By Vickey Lalwani