For the past few months, Bollywood industry in India has managed to stay in top headlines for every reason other than creativity, imagination, art or entertainment. This isn’t the first time when it is the case; the industry and the people associated, have a knack of selling their inferior quality products (movies) by keeping themselves wanted in the news. Although, from a cursory glance it does look like we are witnessing a much required crackdown on Bollywood, but as soon as we dive just a little deeper, we find another crafty illusion.
The charade that began with death of an actor is now hovering over drugs. It is true that this episode has once again exposed the uncontrolled industry malpractices. However, there is absolutely nothing new to observe or know, we have known about these malpractices for decades now. But what is new, at least for me, is the way an aam-aadmi (common-man), a tech savvy fan behaves and reacts to such incidents.
SSR is not the first person who died a mysterious death. Why this incessant nation wide uproar? Disha Salian died a mysterious death a week before him, that unfortunate incident did not even make a mainstream news headline until SSR case happened. Why? What changed in one week? Not going too far back in the history, just some time ago, Sridevi died a mysterious death by drowning; well drowning in a bathtub to be precise. We bought it swiftly, no such nation wide uproar. Why? The list is quite long and probably you are well aware of; Jiah Khan, Divya Bharti and god knows how many other people died a “mysterious” death. But somehow, fake sympathy, twitter condolences were just enough.
How do people choose whose life is worthy enough to create a nation wide sensation and whose life is just not worth it. Why this discrimination?
We have come a long way by-passing a variety of conspiracy theories. I wonder how people zeroed on the names of six or seven celebrities responsible for his death through their nepotistic behavior. Those six or seven celebrities, good or bad, mean or not, bully or not, aren’t the only ones involved with nepotism in the industry. Why target only them? Why this discrimination?
I wrote in detail as to how Neportism can’t be the reason. Please have a look at: Is nepotism in bollywood a genuine problem or a propoganda to hide something.
There are literally a zillion gold diggers irrespective of their genders. You can possibly create a diary of the actresses who married wealthy businessmen, successful directors and producers, etc. for every other reason other than love. But all of a sudden Rhea Chakraborty is looked at as a criminal and one and only of its kind. Why target only her? Why this discrimination?
She was recently booked under Section 8(c), 20(b)(ii), 22, 27 A, 28, 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 and remanded to 14-day judicial custody. Quite ironically many others from the industry were found with way-way more drugs on them. Why is it that drug users and substance abusers like Sanjay Dutt, Prateek Babbar or Yo Yo Honey Singh and so many more ended up in a rehab center in the US but Rhea in Byculla Jail? After she was booked under these sections, I read the NDPS Act thoroughly, nowhere did I find that if you are a son of a Padam Shri award winner or a son of member of parliament (LS or RS) representing a big political party or a person on whom heavy investments have been made, you will be sent to some rehab center otherwise to a jail. Also, nowhere in the NDPS Act did I find that if you have more than a few million followers on social media for example on twitter, the rules can be overlooked. Why this discrimination?
The point being, if the laws, rules and regulations are same for the people of the industry and the rest of India, then who is responsible for carving out a different set of rules for the popular celebrities in the industry?
Who’s the real devil here?
I don’t mean to infer that the politician fathers, or social media like twitter or the massive fan following are the devils. I really don’t mean that. It is very easy to pass on the blame to a third party by using common phrases like: “Yeah, its the system that’s faulty” or “politicians are corrupt” or “social media is evil” etc. etc. But I think that the real devil here is the inability to look beyond one’s personal liking and disliking. “Fans”, today form their opinions, pass their judgement or even cast their votes on the basis of their liking or disliking of a particular person. Today “who” has become way more important then “what”.
I am not at all surprised at the way Bollywood’s biggest superstars are mum on the drug usage in the industry. They know exactly what is at stake. Its their own lives, their own friends and families. It is not their problem if their fans started idolizing and worshiping them. I was not at all surprised when Jaya Bachchan defended the industry in the parliament. She is protecting her own. What I don’t understand is, why the fans, the aam-aadmi continue supporting their favorite stars even when they know what the star is doing/saying is wrong? What is in it for the fan?
It is very unfortunate that the insignificant and powerless fans have some how transformed into a dangerous and threatening mob; the bigger the better. The tech-savvy fans, active on social media did the exact same thing to people like Rhea or Karan Johar or Aalia Bhatt or some other, what Shiv Sena did to Kangana Ranaut. It is just that Shiv Sena has enough power and resources to demolish an office but the fans don’t. It does not matter if somebody likes Kangana or not, if she is a good actress or not, she did not deserve this and should definitely be supported. More importantly it is not necessary that she should be supported for whatever she says. Her fight against drugs and mafia should be supported but her personal vendetta against a particular person need not be supported. Her stand on the role of women in Bollywood should definitely be supported but her personal issues with her boyfriend need not be.
Not many people knew about Rhea before this incident, how many movies did she do so far? Can you name three of her hindi movies? The reality is that if she had, say for example 10 million twitter followers instead of 2.2 lakh, she would not have been sent to a jail but a biopic on the similar lines like “Sanju” would have been made and she would have been receiving justification for her drug connections.
People are simply venting their angers on the ones they don’t like and supporting the ones they like and no body knows the truth. Only conspiracy theories, and that too flawed. Instead of playing a judge themselves and “lynching” individuals in the virtual environment based on their liking, they should have been venting their anger on the legal system. Just imagine, if this is how the investigation of elites looks like, what would be the status for the investigations for the regular aam-aadmi, the common man like me and you. But I would have to say, Mainstream media, tv debates and social media are creating a terrific murder mystery at least better than the so-called entertainers/artists from the Bollywood industry. May be if Bollywood was not busy with debating on “the idea of India” and using it to market its inferior content but instead focused on creating good content, people would have had something better to watch for entertainment.
There is no space for media trials in fully functional democracy like India. If a large group of people start claiming that it is a night, then it is a night, even if we can very well see a bright sun right above the head. And this is why media trials are always, I repeat, always biased. It is high time that people of India truly embrace this fact.
Thanks for reading!!!