Malayalam actor Dileep's arrest in connection with the alleged abduction and rape of an actress lays bare the seamy underbelly of a glamour industry of starry haves and many have nots caught in tinsel traps. But Dileep is not the only one. From Bollywood director Madhur Bhandarkar to actor Shiney Ahuja, many celebrities have been named in similar cases alleging sexual harassment and assault. Some have been proved and others disproved. Though few talk about the casting couch syndrome, the dark reality behind the glittering lights of showbiz, actors like Ranveer Singh and Ayushmann Khurrana have opened up about their experiences. A sting operation in 2005 saw Shakti Kapoor and Aman Verma asking an undercover reporter sexual favours in exchange for a career. The film industry's diary of charges of sexual abuse is long. In January this year, a case was filed against "Chennai Express" producer Karim Morani after a 25-year-old woman alleged he had raped her on multiple occasions in Mumbai and had promised to marry her. Shiney Ahuja was on his way to becoming the next big thing in Bollywood with his brooding turn in films such as "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi" and "Gangster" but it all went south when his maid accused him of rape in 2009. She later retracted her charge but the trial court judge refused to accept it and convicted Ahuja based on circumstantial evidence. A fast track court sentenced Ahuja to seven years' rigorous imprisonment in 2011. His appeal is pending in the Bombay High Court. "Peepli Live" co-director Mahmood Farooqui has also been convicted and sentenced for seven years for the rape of an American scholar from Columbia University in 2015. Farooqui said he was falsely implicated.
His wife, director Anusha Rizvi, is fighting the case. In some instances, as it happened with "Fashion" director Madhur Bhandarkar, the cases have been dismissed. A model, Preeti Jain, accused him of rape in 2004. But the much written about case took a U-turn when Jain was sentenced to three years in jail for plotting Bhandarkar's murder. Singer Ankit Tiwari, known for songs like "Sun Raha Tu", was arrested on charges of raping an advertising professional in 2014 but was acquitted in the case earlier this year. Inder Kumar, the actor, probably best known for playing Salman Khan's younger brother in "Wanted", also made headlines in 2014 when a model accused him of raping her on the pretext of giving her a role in a Bollywood movie. Director Subhash Kapoor, who became famous with his courtroom drama "Jolly LLB", found himself courting notoriety when a journalist-turned-actress accused him of molestation. The case died down as there was no formal complaint. Onir Dhar, the National Award-winning director of "I Am" and "My Brother Nikhil", was accused of rape by struggling actor Yuvraj Parasher. Onir, who has been open about his sexuality, said Parasher was making false claims for publicity. "Queen" director Vikas Bahl also recently found himself in the headlines and almost out of his production company, Phantom Films, after a colleague accused him of sexual harassment. According to reports, the director has been warned and given a second chance to work in the company that is also fronted by Anurag Kashyap, Madhu Mantena and Vikramaditya Motwane. It's not all about Bollywood of course. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, a Tamil actress and daughter of veteran actor-politician-actor R Sarathkumar, recently spoke out about her casting couch experience with the programming head of a leading TV channel.