Mumbai: At a time gender issues are dominating headlines, filmmaker Sudhir Mishra's latest offering 'Inkaar' is bound to evoke more than usual interest. Starring Arjun Rampal and Chitrangada Singh in the lead roles, the film explores the theme of sexual harassment at the workplace.
But Mishra, a director known for his bold and offbeat themes, contends that it is not a problem that really afflicts Bollywood, despite all the tall stories about casting couches.
Relationships in the industry are mostly 'consensual', or 'at worst a barter', said Mishra, best known for his 2005 film 'Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi' about three impressionable youngsters in the years of the Indian Emergency.
"Bollywood is the least problematic place. It is the most maligned place because it is an easy target. But in Bollywood what happens is consensual, often. Or may be you can call it at the worst, a barter," said Mishra.
"You can walk away in Bollywood. She doesn't like a person, she walks away and makes a film with somebody else. But that said, I am not making excuses for everything that happens in Bollywood."
'Inkaar' is the story of the CEO of an advertising firm, played by Arjun, and an intern who swiftly climbs up the ladder, a role essayed by Chitrangada. The film hits the theatres this Friday.
Mishra has made critically appreciated films like the 2007 movie 'Khoya Khoya Chand' and 2011's 'Yeh Saali Zindagi'.
Both 'Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi' and 'Yeh Saali Zindagi' featured Chitrangada.
"I have been in the industry for 25 years. I have never cast actors in a wrong way. Cinema is my first muse and I will never cheat on it," Mishra, the writer of cult film 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaroon' and a National Award winner, told IANS.
Praising his discovery, Chitrangada, whom he had launched with his 2003 project 'Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi', Mishra said: "She is a good actress and I don't know her personally, but this is immaterial. I think it is a very good partnership between an actor and director and it is a very valid thing."
Chitrangada has also worked in Mishra's 'Yeh Saali Zindagi' opposite Irrfan.
Unperturbed by yapping tongues and gossip mills, Mishra says he will continue to work with Chitrangada.
"I am not somebody, who will think that people are talking too much so I will not cast an actor again due to fear (of being talked about). Whenever I will have correct role for Chitrangada, I will cast her and why not?"
"Now she is working with known names like John Abraham, Shrish Kunder, Akshay Kumar. She works less but she is doing a good job," said the director.