Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Foreign Correspondent -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Tonight - the cars devouring China -

It's a symbol of freedom, It is a symbol of economic development. It is a symbol of having made it.

And the sex scandal rocking Bollywood -

It's give and take. I'd be lying if I said it doesn't happen.

It's a professional hazard and you gotta go with it.

India's crowded casting couch.

Cars Eating China

Cars Eating China

Broadcast: 20/06/2006

Reporter: John Taylor


TAYLOR: The 20 million strong city of Shanghai showcases China's economic boom. This city of
entrepreneurs has embraced the car culture with gusto. At first, the statistics don't seem so
daunting - a nation of one point three billion people but only fourteen million cars - but by 2010
there'll be fifty five million cars, trucks and buses on the roads. Auto makers are overjoyed.

KEVIN WALE: [General Motors] It starts in the bigger cities but we keep forgetting how many big
cities there are in China. You know there's probably over a hundred cities with more than a million

TAYLOR: To own a car in China is to enjoy the good life. Car ads like this one have real power.

LO SZE PING: [Greenpeace] I think we need to debunk the American dream of having a car equals to
personal freedom. With China having one fifth of the world's population, this just isn't an
imaginable road to go ahead.

TAYLOR: Environmental activist Lo Sze Ping says China's environment is already under severe stress.
It has sixteen of the world's twenty worst polluted cities. Cars are responsible for much of the
choking air.

So is China repeating the mistakes that everybody else in the world has made?

LO SZE PING: I mean it's like we know very clearly by driving a car, you are driving human
civilisation, going over the cliff. Everyone knows that but we still do it.

TAYLOR: Not that long ago bicycles ruled the roads of China. In the 60s and 70s, people would save
for years to buy a bicycle. Millions of people were on the move and the air was still fresh and
clean. It's a very different picture today.

The rise of the car has mirrored China's explosion as the world's fastest growing major economy.
Today car ownership is a dream within growing reach of millions of Chinese. It's almost impossible
to understand but if ownership rates here ever equal that of Australia or America, there'll be
enough cars to fill a seven lane highway to the moon.

Twenty five year old Beijinger Wei Li, is a proud first time car owner. The university graduate
works for a foreign technology company and enjoys an improving middle class lifestyle.

WEI LI: I bought my car in May, 2005. I wanted to buy one right after I graduated, but I couldn't
afford it. I worked very hard, even during 3 years at university, to earn enough money.

TAYLOR: Wei Li and her husband are family pioneers, the first to own a car. It's meant a lot of
their savings and a sizable part of their salaries but in this status conscious country, a car
shows you've made it.

WEI LI: In the past I might have felt jealous about other people driving cars. Now I feel that they
envy me.

TAYLOR: The narrow roads in the head of old Beijing weren't designed for the car but the old has to
accommodate the new. Today Wei Li is visiting her parents-in-law. They're proud of her achievement
but also worried about the new phenomenon of road rage.

LIU MINGSU: You should pay more attention to road safety.

WEI LI: I'll drive slowly.

LIU MINGSU: Right. You shouldn't chase after anybody.

WEI LI: But my temper is not very good. And I'm very competitive.

TAYLOR: These are the people driving the market. About five million a year are graduating from
driving schools. After learning the road rules, students at this school spend thirty hours just
manoeuvring back and forth, but it doesn't dampen learners' enthusiasm.

STUDENT AT DRIVING SCHOOL: Because my income is now high enough, I want to buy a car. That's why I
want to learn to drive.

TAYLOR: Students also practice on packed purpose built roads where the cars never hit top gear.
It's only after they get their licence that they experience real driving conditions. It helps
explain why new drivers are commonly called "road killers".

Getting behind the wheel in China is an experience like no other. Chinese Australian lawyer Jason
Li works for China's new road service.

JASON LI: [China Automobile Association] According to the Chinese culture, you can mortally offend
somebody's pride if you put on a seatbelt whilst their driving. If you do that for a lot of Chinese
drivers, it's a sign that you don't trust them. It's a sign that you think that they're a bad

TAYLOR: China's roads are among the deadliest in the world. It's estimated that more than one
hundred thousand people die in accidents every year - with many more being injured.

ANDREW HARDING: [China Automobile Association] Look it's a frightening statistic. Really if you
equate it to a simple metaphor, it's roughly a jumbo jet crashing every day.

TAYLOR: Andrew Harding runs the China Automobile Association. It's actually an Australian owned
operation that provides roadside service and driver education. As a nation of first time drivers,
China has much to learn.

ANDREW HARDING: We find that we have a much higher break down rate and a much higher sort of
frequency of break down here then we have elsewhere and it's purely just people not knowing. A lot
of it is also just people not understanding how their car works.

TAYLOR: The Chinese just don't own more cars, they're making them. Within two decades China is
tipped to produce more cars than anywhere else in the world. This GM production line in Shanghai is
making variations of its popular Buick Excelle.

KEVIN WALE: This is a great time to be here. We'd like to be here by ourselves but unfortunately
everyone wants to compete.

TAYLOR: General Motors currently holds poll position in Chinese manufacturing but more than one
hundred different local and foreign companies are building cars in China. Foreign companies can
only enter China if they have a Chinese partner.

MICHAEL DUNNE: [Auto Resources Asia] In what other market in the world could someone get away with
that? None. China, the ultimate negotiators. They're able to say you need our market so badly that
this is the arrangement. You can come in, you can bring your money and your capital but oh by the
way you can only own up to 50% and in the same city my other partner will be your competitor. Deal?

[Walking along street] Beijing's got to rate in the top three, if not number one today in terms of

TAYLOR: Michael Dunne is a car industry analyst from Detroit who's made China home. Despite the
cooperation now, he says everyone's gearing up for a battle in the future.

MICHAEL DUNNE: On the one hand the foreign automaker implicitly understands, believes that one day
he will take over his Chinese partner, and on the other hand the Chinese company looks across a
table at its foreign partner and says one day I will have yours and you may or may not be here in
China anymore.

TAYLOR: More cars also need more fuel and China is already struggling to meet its surging energy
needs. Some are predicting that within a few years, cars, trucks and buses will account for 60% of
China's oil bill.

By 2020 it's thought China will consume nearly nine million barrels of oil a day. That means more
pollution. China's thirst is one of the key reasons why world oil prices are at extraordinary

Far from trying to restrict the car boom, the government's response has been to build millions of
kilometres of new roads. In cities, it means people's homes inevitably go. It's one side of the car
boom that people don't usually see.

[People at protest] In the coastal city of Tianjin, these people are fighting not to be run over by
the advance of the car. The local government wants to destroy their inner city homes to make way
for wider roads and a new development. Hundreds of families have already been moved out.

[Footage of forcible eviction - man yelling] I don't want to leave!

TAYLOR: But their compensation has been paltry.

Protests over forcible evictions are commonplace in China now and a source of mounting concern for
the ruling Communist Party but the poor invariably lose. This was Ning Kemin earlier this year,
struggling for a fair price for her home. She and her husband were unemployed and determined to be
treated fairly.

NING KEMIN: It's good to improve people's living standards, but they don't do that. They just want
to make money for themselves by trampling the ordinary people under their feet - to succeed by
sacrificing the interests of ordinary people.

TAYLOR: But the Chinese Government won. A last desperate protest captured here by a mobile phone
was unsuccessful. Ning Kemin and her husband were forcibly evicted.

NING KEMIN: [Crying] They are so cruel! Such a nice family has now been destroyed by them. They're
such bullies.

TAYLOR: Yet for first time car owner Wei Li, her car means nothing but freedom and opportunity. Wei
Li has even joined a car club that's opened up a new social network.

WEI LI: I think it's good for us to get together. I'm very happy. I also have many good friends and
can meet lots of people. They might help me with my work.

TAYLOR: The car is allowing Chinese to go places they've never been. The club is visiting an
orphanage on the outskirts of Beijing caring for abandoned sick children. The greater freedom
offered by the car, also gives them a greater insight into the hardships endured by many people.

Do you think though that perhaps driving a car is some of the freest expression that people have in

JASON LI: And that is part of the attraction. That is, that is partly why cars have taken China by
storm because it is a symbol of freedom. It is a symbol of economic development. It is a symbol of
having made it and being able to enjoy that freedom.

TAYLOR: The rise of the car is a dream realised for millions of Chinese, yet it poses a huge
challenge to the world's environment - energy supplies and it promises to reshape the global auto
industry - but the car is muscling its way through China and it seems nothing can get in its path.

India - Casting Couch (BBC)

India - Casting Couch

Broadcast: 13/06/2006

Reporter: Tanya Datta


DATTA: Mumbai, the economic juggernaut that drives India is a city that both assaults and excites
the senses. In this metropolis of almost twenty million set on the coast of the glittering Arabian
Sea, contradictions are everywhere. Fabulous wealth sits alongside dire poverty and crowning it all
is the dizzying glamour and energy of Bollywood, the keystone of India's vast film industry.

But something is amiss in the city of dreams. Sordid revelations of a casting couch culture have
rocked the town.

SAKSHI SIVANANDA: [Actor] I'm going to sit and say I am not going to take to the casting couch and
I'm going to like stick to my own thing, I would have people tell me like, why are you stupid? It's
a professional hazard and you've got to go with it.

MAHESH BHATT: [Film maker] People in a position of power exploit the weak, the vulnerable. That
seems to be the perverse side of human nature.

SHOBHA DE: [Author] I'd say eighty percent of all the big acting roles and even some of the minor

DATTA: Eight percent?

SHOBHA BHATT: Eighty percent. As high as that.

DATTA: So are the seductive fantasies of India's Masala movies based on something more sinister?
Are film roles being traded for sex in Bollywood?

The issue first surfaced when this was beamed into millions of Indian living rooms [news report]. A
popular Bollywood actor called Shakti Kapoor was trapped in an elaborately planned sting operation
by the news channel India TV. Shakti specialises in playing villains but here he was the bad guy in
real life.

In the footage he's seen propositioning an undercover reporter who's posing as an aspiring actress.
A drunk Kapoor is caught offering to help her career in exchange for sex, something he claimed,
sensationally, was common practice in Bollywood, even amongst its biggest stars.

MAHESH BHATT: It really took the nation by storm. That Sunday, people did not go to the temples or
to the churches or their mosques. They sat riveted in front of the television screen.

SHAKTI KAPOOR: [On news report] Now you listen to me. I want to make love to you. I want to make
love to you, I want to kiss you. And if you don't want to do that, it's cool. But I've got to go.

DATTA: India TV weren't slow to see the impact of their story. They ran it continuously on their
rolling news. Here was the proof they claimed of the problem that the Indian film industry refuse
to confront. In the days following, the expose was dissected endlessly and friends and colleagues
spurned Shakti.

His twenty seven year career as a screen villain appeared to be on its last legs. Well I've come to
the glamorous district of Juhu where most of the film set live to meet Shakti Kapoor and hear what
he's got to say for himself.

Hello! Hi. Shakti Kapoor? Hi nice to meet you.

SHAKTI KAPOOR: Nice to meet you.

DATTA: From the BBC. My goodness look at all of this!

SHAKTI KAPOOR: This is all my work. My films, my silver jubilees, golden jubilees, all my awards.

DATTA: The corridor of fame.

SHAKTI KAPOOR: The corridor of a lot of hard work.

DATTA: So tell me about the night of Sunday, March the 13th and when...

SHAKTI KAPOOR: March the 13th...

DATTA: And when the infamous broadcast happened.

SHAKTI KAPOOR: [Actor] Yeah it was one of those nightmares. It was actually one of the worst days
in my entire life. I was on the road, coming back home and I was speaking to my daughter who said
Shakti there is this woman who entered the room. She tells to sit and you want to go and she says
no sit and she makes you sit. She offers you a drink and Papa, I mean you don't even know the
camera's on and you, I mean you guys are discussing sex.

DATTA: Your daughter was telling you this?

SHAKTI KAPOOR: Yeah cause I was on the way and she said nothing doing Papa come home. And she was

DATTA: So she was watching you.

SHAKTI KAPOOR: Yeah and she was crying. I said oh shit. I mean...

DATTA: What about your wife was she here?

SHAKTI KAPOOR: She was in the States luckily for me otherwise she would have killed me but there
was such an evil reaction from the entire country at that time, the entire film industry they
thought that I've done about ten to twenty murders at one time. It was like I was a terrorist. I
felt like crazy. I mean I said how could this happen to anyone?

DATTA: Just four days later the controversy escalated. India TV ran an identical sting on a young
television star and the channel warned that more exposes were in the pipeline, sensing real danger,
the cinema world went on the offensive. Some of Bollywood's biggest screen heroes came out and
condemned India TV for its methods and its motives.

What was the impact on the film industry here?

MAHESH BHATT: Shock. Like an animal trapped in the glare of a headlight. Immobilised, paralysed.
Then came outrage. Then came denial. And they haven't moved out of the denial mode since then.

DATTA: Mumbai is full of beautiful young people knocking on doors trying to get a break and with
the explosion in Bollywood's popularity in the UK, there's also a steady influx of British women
who've set their cap on making it big here. I met up with a British Asian actress, Rani Vishnu.

So you didn't have an agent, so how did you start approaching directors and producers? What did you

RANI VISHNU: I actually knocked on the doors. I marketed myself so I approached them myself.

DATTA: How common is this? Is there a lot more direct interaction between actors and actresses and
directors and producers?

RANI VISHNU: It is, it is. I find it is.

DATTA: Shobha De is India's Jackie Collins, an author and society doyenne. She says that it's
precisely this informality that can lead to the personal approach getting too personal.

SHOBHA DE: An intelligent girl knows exactly what is meant when a producer tells her meet me in a
suite at eleven at night or meet me in a farmhouse outside Bombay, or why don't you catch flight,
I'm shooting in London, why don't you come meet me there? And a lot of them know exactly what that
suggestion means and are happy to go along.

RANI VISHNU: I phoned a well known older actor. I phoned him about six in the evening to say could
I make an appointment to come and see him tomorrow. I was asked to go to the hotel at ten in the
evening to go and see him.

DATTA: At ten in the evening?

RANI VISHNU: Yeah and I said I can't make it.

DATTA: So what did you understand he meant by that?

RANI VISHNU: Well I find it, if you're sort of going to go give an audition, you don't give an
audition at a hotel at ten in the evening.

DATTA: Did you get considered for the role you were trying to audition for?

RANI VISHNU: No I have my dignity. I'm a more professional actress and if I'm good at my job then I
should get a job, not by sleeping but by acting.

DATTA: Now this is the sort of place a young hopeful wants to hang out. It's a fresh new film with
a very young cast and production team. There's no shortage of energy or enthusiasm on set here and
I noticed there's no shortage of attractive extras either, waiting for their big break.

The hero is an up and coming young star who also happens to be the nephew of film mogul Mahesh
Bhatt. The female lead, as seems par for the course these days, is a former Miss India. But is
talent being overlooked in the pursuit of sexual favours? I'm on my way to meet an actress called
Sakshi Sivananda. She says that it's her refusal to play along with sexual expectations that's
impeded her career.

SAKSHI SIVANANDA: I've had a couple of direct experiences.

DATTA: Tell me about those.

SAKSHI SIVANANDA: Where I had one director say that I was playing dumb. He said you know what? This
is not going to work with me you playing dumb. I mean like I'll say it directly to you, that when I
cast someone in my film, I need complete involvement and I was like that - professionally I mean, I
am a very committed person so I will give my best but he said no I don't think you're getting me. I
mean like body and soul involvement.

DATTA: Body and soul?

SAKSHI SIVANANDA: Yeah it's not only being cast in a film where the casting couch exists, it's also
after that at every stage having a close up of you is taken, you're being made to feel as if like
they're doing you a big favour.

DATTA: What so if you're in, if you've already been cast for a film and the director is then saying
to you in order to do a close up of you, there's got to be some quid pro quo.

SAKSHI SIVANANDA: I mean they make you feel as if like you know I'm taking your close up and I
could like take a long shot and your performance will just go unnoticed so the fact I'm taking a
close up is a very big thing.

DATTA: Within acting circles, stories of the casting couch are discussed but such tales are
carefully concealed from the public. Immediately after his indiscretions, Shakti Kapoor was
blacklisted by the industry but only days later the ban was withdrawn and in an extraordinary
twist, the expose seems to have revitalised his career.

One evening I accompanied Shakti to a film launch, at a lavish five star hotel where it soon became
clear that he was very much back in favour with the film elite. This sophisticated party was
attended by some of Bollywood's most influential powerbrokers. Their public backing of Shakti was
pointed. It's this kind of mutual understanding he says on which Bollywood function.

DATTA: How does it work Shakti when you're considered for a new film? You have lots of meetings?

SHAKTI KAPOOR: No a lot depends on your relations. Like if he wants to make a film, I don't want to
have a meeting with him. He just says Shakti you're working for me.

DATTA: So there isn't a formal auditioning process or...

SHAKTI KAPOOR: Everything is so understanding you know?

DATTA: As the stars pose for the society snappers, I wondered whether the scandal had actually
provoked any soul searching about the issue at stake itself.

Do you think then Shakti that the whole storm that was created over the string operation on you,
overshadowed the real problem which is that there is a casting couch culture in Bollywood.

SHAKTI KAPOOR: Casting couch is not in Bollywood, it's all over the world. It's like give and take.
I'll be lying if I say it doesn't happen. It exists everywhere. So you don't have, it's no big
deal. Nobody's raping anyone but now what has happened, what I, my experience is a lot of these
girls who want to become actresses are, fifty percent of them they come to a big producer and
director and they say if you give us a role we're ready to do anything before the director or
producer can even say anything, these girls offer themselves.

DATTA: You think it's always one way? You don't think producers and directors sometimes approach
the girls?

SHAKTI KAPOOR: No, no it's both ways, it's both ways. This is what they call in our film industry
'will you cooperate with me?' They don't say I want to make love to you...

DATTA: Will you cooperate with me.

SHAKTI KAPOOR: And the girls, and the girl comes sir if you give me any role in your film or give
me a role of a heroine, I'll cooperate with you.

DATTA: Isn't there a degree of exploitation if you have a young vulnerable woman who doesn't come
from a film dynasty...

SHAKTI KAPOOR: See I mean if she's offering herself...

DATTA: ... trying to get a job. Not if she's offering if it's made clear to her that a role is
dependent on a sexual favour.

SHAKTI KAPOOR: So then she can say no and go back home.

DATTA: But the casting couch can never offer any real guarantee of a part, as actress Pretti Jaiin
knows from her own experience with one high profile Bollywood player. She claims she consented to
sex with him because he promised her marriage and good film roles but neither were forthcoming.
This she says is common place.

PRETTI JAIIN: [Actor] They utilise the girl again once or twice or till whenever she realises that
she has been fooled and not only do they do that, in the evening they have a network. They already
have a network of other producers and directors who are like minded. They sit and drink and they
say oh God this girl is just new you know and she's so stupid you know we have just fooled her. Why
don't you also fool her.

DATTA: But the women that go along with this are not, they're not begin forced into it, they are
still giving their consent to what's happening.

PRETTI JAIIN: I'm not saying anything. I'm not at any point saying that that is rape. I'm not at
any point saying that, but what I would like to say here is that it is consent which is falsely

DATTA: You're saying it's exploitation.

PRETTI JAIIN: It is rampant exploitation and it is a social evil which needs to be addressed and it
has to be addressed very soon.

DATTA: Some people might find it hard that you didn't come out about it sooner.

PRETTI JAIIN: Considering the kind of society we are living in, people are very much like you know
people find it very strange that I've come out even know because the kind of society we are living
in here people don't really, here women are very subdued. Something happens to them, they go in a
corner, they cry or they hang themselves by the ceiling fan but they don't divulge, they don't
speak up which is why such malpractices continue.

SHOBHA DE There have been women who have taken a stand or taken a position and well we know where
they are - they are nowhere. They're on the fringes still hoping that things will change but
cynical and kind of sad and disillusioned but still hoping.

DATTA: Speak out and risk condemnation or play the game and risk being double crossed. Either way,
the lack of a clear recruitment process has allowed some of the most powerful in the business to
take advantage of the least.

MAHESH BHATT: I think one should be outraged at this practice. It has a stench of bygone days. It's
a feudal mindset. There are laws in civilised countries which protect women and men from these
humiliating situations.

DATTA: It's time for one last meeting with Shakti Kapoor but when we arrive on the set of his
latest film, all is not going to plan. Everything was ready to role when a problem came up - the
tide came in. As the film crew de-rig and retreat a couple of hundred metres in land, Shakti's
sleeping off the after effects of the night before. At last he makes an appearance. For a man
caught so very publicly seeking sex while promising career guidance, what words of wisdom would he
now offer an aspiring actress confronted with the same problem in Bollywood?

SHAKTI KAPOOR: Whenever a woman gets used, I mean I've seen ninety percent of these women not
getting no roles at all because once they are used they're thrown out because then a producer or a
director wants a lot of dignity in his film and he feels that this woman is a very cheap woman and
she's very easy and it's no problem, I mean I shouldn't cast her in a film because she's got no
standard. If you think that you're going to compromise or cooperate, you're going to cooperate your
chances are a little lesser than if you don't cooperate. So work hard and there's a lot of work in
the film industry without cooperating.

Next week, I'll be reporting on Britain and Argentina's continuing fight for possession of this
territory, and why Britain remains in a constant state of readiness for war.

Having had our fingers burnt once we don't wish that to happen again. And we wouldn't like anyone
to think that we don't feel the wishes of the people here important, because we do.

Could you ever see yourself living in a political settlement?

No, I definitely could not, that is not on. If Argies come, Trudi's off.

That's next Tuesday at 9:20 after 'The Bill'. And if you'd like to leave a comment about tonight's
program, our website is: See you next week, goodnight.