"he was trying to touch me."
Reality TV star Aradhana Sharma opened up about an uncomfortable casting couch incident that left her scarred.
Aradhana, who appeared in Splitsvilla and popular sitcom Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, said that a casting agent made inappropriate advances.
She went on to reveal that the experience was so bad that she did not tell anyone about it.
Aradhana explained: “An incident did happen to me and I can never forget it in my entire life.
“It happened four-five years back. I was studying in Pune then. It happened in my home town Ranchi.
“There was a person who was doing casting in Mumbai. I was doing modelling assignments in Pune and hence was a bit known.
“I went to Ranchi as he said he is casting for some role.
“We were doing script reading in a room and he was trying to touch me.
“I couldn’t figure out what was happening. I just remember pushing him, opening the door and running away.
“I couldn’t share this with anyone for a few days. It was a love scene reading script. It was very bad.”
The incident caused her to have trust issues as Aradhana continued:
“I started having trust issues. I can’t stay with a man in one room. I can’t even stay with my papa.
“This has happened with me.
“I was 19/20 years old then. I couldn’t let anyone touch me. I used to feel so bad.”
“It was a very bad experience for me. My mother and I wanted to confront him but then our family members stopped.”
Aradhana Sharma also opened up about being body-shamed when looking for projects.
She said: “I will share an incident which happened to me recently. I won’t take names.
“We send our portfolios to various casting agencies and one of them was looking for a ‘pretty, beautiful lead’ role.
“So I told the casting agent to forward my portfolio and he said, ‘I have written here pretty but you are not pretty’.
“These were his words. He told me I don’t fit in ‘pretty and beautiful’ and will give roles which will fit me.
“I was also called a ‘she-male’ because of my body. I am really into fitness and had learnt martial arts too. So people would say I look ‘mardaana’.
“I also get body-shamed a lot. ‘You look like this, that… you don’t have the face’ and things like that.
“I don’t know why people comment on a person’s looks rather than seeing their work/acting.
“People have an opinion on everything. It’s very bad. It affects mentally and it’s the survival of the fittest. You have to accept yourself.”
Despite the ordeals, Aradhana has gone on to enjoy success in reality TV.
On Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, despite the length of her role, the show has brought her more recognition.
She told ETimes: “Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah brought a boom to my career. I have received so much love.”