TARGETED: In the electronic media led by Arnab Goswami of Republic TV, Mahesh Bhatt is being singled out for public ire over his prompting of actress Rhea Chakraborty in the still evolving mystery suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput in Mumbai. Kangana Ranaut has trashed the film industry as a cartel of film industry families working overtime to discriminate and punish “outsiders” like Sushant Singh Rajput from Bihar and Kangana Ranaut from Himachal Pradesh
BY ALI PETER JOHN
How will this sordid saga end? Veteran film journalist
ALI PETER JOHN shares his thoughts of the on-going Sushant Singh Rajput controversy about whether he committed suicide or it was a planned murder or homicide.…
THE climate in the country has been changing into a series of unusual, unruly and tumultuous scenes since June 14, 2020 and the reason is not because of the pandemic, political turmoil, floods or any kind of national calamity. It is all because a handsome, brilliant and highly talented actor called Sushant Singh Rajput, who is best known for his role as MS Dhoni, the celebrated captain of the Indian Cricket Team (who retired from International cricket just ten days ago), who was found hanging dead from the fan in the bedroom of his apartment in the suburb of Bandra in Mumbai on the morning of June 14, 2020…
The high voltage drama began the moment his body was found, it escalated with the autopsy conducted at the Cooper Municipal Hospital, it took a mysterious turn during and after his cremation , it took many more twists and turns when the Mumbai Police called more than 30 film celebrities for interrogation, it became an acrimonious issue when there was a vociferous cry for the investigations to be conducted by the CBI and the saga of the SSR case reached a crescendo when the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to take over investigations from the Mumbai and Bihar Police.
Hardly a few hours after the Supreme Court asked the CBI to take over the investigations in the SSR case, a large team of investigators swooped down on Mumbai and started work with all seriousness. Extensive interrogations have been going on in the last ten days and people all over the country are waiting for the results with bated breath.
But the investigations in other places, especially in the social media, have already taken a very interesting (?) turn with politicians, TV anchors and social activists taking part in debates and discussions and airing their opinions and judgements on the case which has been grabbing headlines almost every day and given more space in the media than the pandemic, the economic conditions in the country, the growing unemployment crisis and the general mismanagement of affairs that have been creating a disturbing situation in the country.
THERE are some leading “prosecutors” and among them are Kangana Ranaut whose is leaving no stone unturned to “expose” the film industry in Mumbai; the anchor who makes maximum noise on television and still sounds shallow and hollow is Arnab Goswami. Other anchors Sudhir Chaudhary, Anjana Om Kashyap and many other smaller anchors are making a noise in the hundreds of other channels. And if there is one politician, who has conveniently forgotten the other problems being faced by the country to concentrate on the Sushant Singh Rajput case, and has in fact passed his own judgement in the case as he believes that he knows every little detail about the case, it is Dr Subramanian Swamy.
How and where these kinds of prosecutions will end will be interesting to see. There is actually a court sitting in every house, in every corner and every gully in a city and every chowk in a village discussing and deciding the case on their own findings!? The prime “accused” at the time of writing is supposed to be girlfriend of SSR, that is Rhea Chakraborty, who has been found to be the pressure behind what happened to SSR and who in addition has been found to be involved in a drug racket too besides many money laundering charges, Mahesh Bhatt , Mukesh Bhatt, Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and the son of a very powerful politician from Maharashtra. The saga is now being laced with political shades because of the coming Assembly elections in states like Bihar (SSR belongs to a very influential family from the state) and Bengal (the state Rhea comes from)
In the meanwhile, the film industry is being constantly thrashed, threatened and panned by all kinds of social and anti-social elements. The first “punishment” the industry has received can be seen by the way some critics have lashed out against the trailer of Mahesh Bhatt’s comeback film Sadak 2 starring his two daughters Pooja Bhatt and Alia Bhatt, besides Sanjay Dutt and Aditya Roy Kapoor playing a role which was first offered to SSR who had turned it down, and had earned the ire of both Mahesh and his brother Mukesh Bhatt, which many believe was the beginning of some kind of a war declared against Sushant by what many call the “mafia of Bollywood.”
The trailer of Sadak 2 has received a record number of millions of dislike or nasty comments. There are other critics who have gone hammer and tongs against the trailer and I know of many other genuine and not so genuine critics planning to pan the film when it is released on OTT platforms. The other film released on OTT platform, Gunjan Saxena-The Kargil Girl, has also been received with the most bitter and stringent criticism and it is said that the criticism comes because the leading lady is Jahnvi Kapoor, who according to the army waging war against Bollywood is a child of nepotism.
This seems to be a very bad beginning of a time that can only lead to the worsening of the state of affairs in the film industry in Mumbai. The way things are. And the kind of atmosphere created by anger, suspicion, aspersions and sheer hatred, is a time that has never happened before and I wonder if the industry will be the same industry in the time to come.
As I write this piece and I am sitting with a very respected revered Roman Catholic priest in his office, and he too like most Indians today starts his conversation with me by making his own judgement about the sordid saga and says, “Rhea is guilty and must be punished and if man doesn’t punish her and Mahesh Bhatt, God will certainly punish them.” And with that statement, God too is drawn into this drama of a very dark kind.
I have been an active part of all that happens in Bollywood (oh, how I hate this word) and I have never felt so small and so humiliated when even the most common man and woman looks at me with suspicion and contempt because even people like these have started believing that Bollywood is a world where all that is wild and wicked is a way of life.