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Bhushan Kumar case draws sharp opinions on social media

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With the Mumbai Police registering an FIR filed by an aspiring model-cum-actress alleging rape against Bollywood producer and music baron Bhushan Kumar on Friday, the ugly issue of casting couch has once again reared its head.

Stories of casting couch surrounding powerful people in Bollywood are not new. The sad part is that whispers suggest the casting couch continues to persist in the Hindi film industry, although the MeToo movement also seems to have had some sort of an impact somewhere.

To come back to the present case, according to a complaint filed at DN Nagar Police Station in Andheri, a 30-year-old aspiring model-cum-actress was allegedly sexually exploited and repeatedly raped by Kumar between 2017 and 2020 under the false pretext of giving her roles in films.

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The allegation dates back to 2017, before actress Tanushree Dutta’s sexual harassment allegation against Nana Patekar in September 2018 kickstarted the MeToo movement in India.

In the allegation against T-Series head honcho Bhushan Kumar, however, the victim has chosen not to disclose her identity on social media or any other platform, but she has filed a police complaint.

Will Bhushan Kumar be proven guilty or will he evade arrest? Many netizens have speculated if he would use money and power to influence the case. A section of netizens claims the alleged sexual act was consensual and that the complainant had agreed to it in order to bag a film role she was promised.

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Online reactions pouring in through Friday show different people have different opinions over the issue.

“How can this be a rape? If she agreed to be in sexual activity. If the role was given then she would not have done complaint, right? I am not supporting where people promise to give role for benefits. But the lady is also not right,” tweeted a user.

Many have reacted with cynicism, noting that Bollywood’s high and mighty are never punished for any act of misdemeanour.

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“If it’s Bollywood nothing is going to happen,” declared a user.

“Why No arrest made… Its Rape case. Or rules r diff for Poor and the Rich?” wondered another user.

Some feel the difference between rape and consensual sex ought to be clearly laid out, before forming opinion in such cases. “This isn’t rape, it’s consensual sex. She went into the bed with him willingly so that she could get a contract,” tweeted a user.

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