Dear humankind, do you have what it takes to survive in 2020? This unprecedented challenge was thrown down by invisible Covid-19 or Corona virus to humankind, the mighty and brainy inhabitants of the earth. Battle to fight with pandemic began. Nationwide LOCKDOWN threw life out of gear. Touching stories of struggle for survival, specially by working class, started trickling in. 15-year-old Jyoti Kumari cycled down 1200 km carrying her ailing father from Gurugram in Haryana to Bihar. Balkrishna Tiwari walked for nine days along with his wife and two children to reach his village in Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh from Mumbai. Such heart rending stories are uncountable even if Government, NGOs and Good Samaritan of societies came forward to help each other.
Meantime, 34 years Sushant Singh Rajput, a Bollywood actor, committed suicide by hanging himself to a ceiling fan at his Bandra residence—where he was paying rent of 4.51 lakh per month with one time deposit of Rs. 12,90,000–in Mumbai on June 14. Sushant’s posh Pali Hill area (Bandra) residence was a duplex flat of 3600 sq feet area, where he had four domestic helps. The actor’s net worth was around ₹59 crores. He reportedly charged between Rs 5-7 crore for a movie. He was the only Indian actor, who had bought a piece of land on the moon. Before him, actor Shah Rukh Khan was gifted a piece of land on the moon by a fan. A bike enthusiast, Sushant Singh Rajput owned an expensive and stylish BMW K 1300 R motorcycle. He was also a proud owner of luxury sports car Maserati Quattroporte and a Land Rover Range Rover SUV.
What drove an actor to end his privileged life at a situation when every citizen from all walks of life, across the nation is labouring and sweating blood to sustain in pandemic? 11 films—including super hits like ‘Kai Po Che’, ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’, ‘Kedarnath’, ‘Chhichhore’, and ‘Raabta’ among others—in his career span in these years prove Sushant was a talented actor. A middle class Patna boy, who had made it big in Bollywood without having any grandfather was fortunate to realise his dream of becoming an actor.
Sushant Singh Rajput gave a super hit films like “M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story”, on his own shoulder. Wasn’t talent alone enough to survive in the big place called Bollywood? What is the rules of game which Bollywood play by? An actress of the Nineties, Raveena Tandon, answers this disturbing question, when she reveals camps do exist in Bollywood. Bollywood operates in camps and coteries, which are based on privileges and nepotism. Sometimes careers are destroyed. You struggle to keep afloat. Fight back. Some survive, some don’t,”
Sushant Singh Rajput, finally, succumbed to cruel games of Bollywood. Didn’t he try to fit into camps and coteries of Bollywood? He did. He went extra miles to please the bosses of camps when he announced to drop his surname ‘’Rajput” to show his support to Sanjay Leela Bhansali during ‘Padmavat’ controversy, and said, “I am ashamed of being Rajput.” Why should anyone be ashamed of his roots? Sushant, in many of his interviews said that it was his dream to work with Mr. Bhansali, but got nothing from director, even after compromising with his self respect.
Politician Sanjay Nirupam, who attended funeral of Sushant, tweeted: Sushant lost 7 films after success of ‘Chhichhore’ in 2019. Cruelty of the film industry operates on another level that it killed an artiste. Sushant’s suicide gave Dabangg Director Abhinav Kashyap courage to pour his heart. Abhinav Kashyap, posted a lengthy statement on social media, in which he explained it to how Salman Khan and his family sabotaged his career in Bollywood; how he was exploited and bullied by them; how he was thrown out of Dabangg 2 unceremoniously to accommodate Arbaaz Khan. Outrage by those who were bullied, manipulated and mocked for being outsiders started flooding in.
Bollywood preaches country freedom of expression, they can abuse head of the nation day and night, but excluding likes of Kangna Ranaut, no one has spine to raise his voices against Khans and Johars. Director Anurag Kashyap, brother of Abhinav Kashyap has been denigrating PM Modi severely, but he didn’t utter a word against Salman Khan and his family, even when his own brother’s career was destroyed. For a Bollywood actor, director or singer, it is easier to speak against PM than to speak against Khans and Johars.
Pseudo seculars of Bollywood can stage protest against CAA, an act passed by a democratically elected government in both houses with due debate in parliament, but same protesters bow their heads in fear when a shark like Salman Khan destroys career of Vivek Oberoi, Arijit Singh and Abhinav Kashyap at his will. Bollywood—who teaches society ethics and values—doesn’t hesitate to hero worship a drug addict and convict for arms act in 1993 bomb blast, Sanjay Dutt.
Bollywood held placards for George Floyd seven seas across in US. But, what did Bollywood do for Sushant Singh Rajput, who was driven to end his life by sharks of Bollywood at their own backyards? There are many Sushants, who either slipped into depression or started taking drugs, or ended their lives after they were deprived their due. Isn’t Bollywood full of sharks, which don’t allow small and outsider fish like Sushant Singh Rajput to survive? We are ashamed of you, Bollywood.