The Movie Artistes’ Association or MAA, which represents the Telugu film industry, has agreed to set up a panel to deal with the casting couch complaints from women members. The panel, the Committee Against Sexual Harassment (CASH), will include representatives from different wings of the film fraternity and some outsiders who champion the cause of the abused women artistes.

A decision on this was conveyed by the MAA office-bearers to Telangana Cinematography Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav at a meeting held here on Saturday. Before meeting the minister, the MAA seniors had a series of meetings with other wings of the Telugu film industry like producers council, directors’ association and the film chambers of commerce and industry.

The move comes in the wake of a two-month-long campaign by some women actresses, especially Sri Reddy who created a flutter as she stripped in front of the MAA office in Jubilee Hills in the city two weeks ago. MAA president Shivaji Raja said that the CASH panel was a first of its kind in India which has several major movie making hubs in Mumbai, Chennai, besides Hyderabad. He indicated there would be 10-20 members in the committee, but the names would be finalised next week.

The MAA and the other wings of the film industry have also decided to provide facilities to women artistes at the shooting spots, increasing their daily remuneration or registering the names of women artistes and abolition of casting coordinators are some of the steps.

The casting couch controversy took different turns in the last one week after director Ram Gopal Varma confessed that he had instigated Sri Reddy to use an abusive word (m********) against Jana Sena Party chief and Power Star Pawan Kalyan who advised her to go to police instead of visiting TV studios.

Varma also admitted, on a video, that he had offered Rs 4 to 5 crore to Sri Reddy if she kept quiet.


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