The behind-the-scenes stories in Bollywood are more gripping than the scripts of the movies the industry churns out. This 'entertainment business' is a confluence of big parties, gossip, casting couch and underworld connections.
It has been long since drugs became a part of news on the domination of star families, nepotism, relationships and their breakdowns in Bollywood.
No one had touched Bollywood despite reports of numerous offences, including drug abuse, tax evasion and the benami business, and many FIRs being registered for various charges, from aggression to involuntary manslaughter. There was no strong legal action against drugs in the film industry even when the media was filled with news of Sanjay Dutt's drug use, addiction and rehabilitation. Although there have been arrests of actors, including Fardeen Khan and Vijay Raz, in drugs cases, nothing much happened after that.
At the same time, there are also people like Manisha Koirala, who have openly spoken out about drug addiction and have started fighting against it. Actress Kangana Ranaut has also said that she was exploited by an actor who tried to make her a drug addict.
Now, in the wake of the drugs angle emerging in the Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case, many industry people have, openly and anonymously, talked about Bollywood's drug addiction and parties where drugs flow in huge quantities.
Kangana Ranaut has said that 90% of Bollywood people use drugs; according to Rhea Chakraborty, 80% of them are into drugs. It has been reported that Rhea and her brother Showik have given the names of 20–25 top film celebrities to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) alleging they are into drugs.
Actor Adhyayan Suman, actress Shibani Dandekar and many other industry people have also admitted that frenzied parties with drug use are common and real in Bollywood.
A lady psychologist of many celebrities says, “Bollywood is a special world. It is said some people who have attained luxury, comfort and convenience lose excitement. When that happens, there is a category of people that seeks excitement in drugs. The other group includes people who come with acting ambitions but don’t see success, then make various compromises and hope to achieve something by being a regular at drug parties. The children of athletes, politicians and big businessmen also take part in such drug revelries.”
CBI, ED are silent
The CBI, which is investigating whether the mysterious death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput was a murder or a suicide, has not said much. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has launched an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of Rs 15 crore from the actor by Rhea Chakraborty, who was his girlfriend, and her family, is also silent.
It is the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) that is at the forefront of the investigations now. But it has not been able to find any drugs from Rhea and the remand report also does not state that she used drugs. While the NCB says Rhea is part of a larger drug syndicate, it has not been able to provide any evidence to prove its claim. The only evidence it has had so far are WhatsApp chats.
Rhea has been arrested in a drug case, and the NCB has not yet been able to explain its connection to Sushant's death. Moreover, when she was produced in court, the NCB did not seek Rhea’s custody for further questioning. This, legal experts say, shows that the case is weak.
Stars come out in support of Rhea
After the arrest of Rhea Chakraborty, a section of people, including actresses, have come out in her support with the #Supportrhea campaign.
Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Diya Mirza, Shabana Azmi and Zoya Akhtar have taken to social media to support Rhea. Director Anurag Kashyap is also supporting them.
Many social media posts have quoted the lines printed on the T-shirt Rhea was wearing when she was arrested. The actresses allege that there is a ‘witch hunt’ going on and that had it been a big star or a man in her position, they would not have been subject to such insults and abuse.
Cinema and politics
The BJP is against Rhea Chakraborty in the Sushant death case and supports Kangana Ranaut in her war of words with the Maharashtra government. In both cases, the BJP is not letting go of a single opportunity to lash out at the Maharashtra government.
What actually happened in the case of Sushant's death is no longer the discussion. What has been appearing in the news are Sushant's father's complaint in Bihar, allegations that the Mumbai police did not investigate properly, the arrival of the Bihar police in Mumbai, the ensuing controversy and finally the announcement of the CBI probe.
The BJP's interest in the Sushant case stems from two reasons: One is because of the Bihar elections. The BJP’s calculations is that by raking up the Sushant case, it will be able to keep the Rajputs, a crucial vote bank in Bihar, on its side. It has already made the death of the Bihar native actor a big propaganda weapon. Banners with Sushant's picture have also come up at many places. Its second intention is to defame the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government by claiming that it has ulterior motives and special interests in covering up the Sushant case.
The BJP has declared its support for Kangana Ranaut in the hope that it will benefit from the actress lashing out at the Shiv Sena. This was also the intention behind the Union home ministry announcing Y-plus category security for the actress amid protests in Maharashtra against her anti-Mumbai remarks. The moves of the Shiv Sena, on the other hand, make it clear that it is not ready to back down.