In a world of make-believe, what goes on behind the posed pictures and seemingly strong persona, nobody knows. Yet another suicide rocked the Hindi film industry. Sandeep Nahar—Chhotu Bhaiya of M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, Buta Singh of Kesari— an actor seen in serials as C.I.D and Crime Patrol, and web series Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai left a text and video note on social media before he reportedly hanged himself at his home on February 15.
That adds another name in the long list of actors who allegedly committed suicide – Sushant Singh Rajput, Asif Basra, Chitra, Sameer Sharma, Manmeet Grewal, Akshat Utkarsh, Anupama Pathak, Ashutosh Bhakre and Sejal Sharma. While battling depression and financial issues are cited as some of the causes, in the case of Nahar, who belonged to Kalka and lived in Chandigarh, he mentioned troubled marriage in the suicide note and a video he posted on Facebook.
“The pressures behind the screen, neither from the balconies nor stalls can be seen. Om Shanti,” tweeted actor Ranvir Shorey. While many like Ira Khan and Shaheen Bhatt have opened up on their battle with depression lately; even Deepika Padukone has been vocal about her struggle with depression, but for some it’s too late for help.
Shiwani Saini, who has worked with Nahar in Punjabi film Happy Go Lucky, is crestfallen on getting the news. “It baffles me that somebody so charming, fun, strong and jolly could take such a step.” A slew of actors ending life lately, Shiwani feels that not everyone is cut for this highly-competitive field. “The general perception is that all actors are paid well while in reality it’s only A-listers like Deepika Padukone or Salman Khan who charge in crores, those in supporting roles like Sandeep or I, we only get paid in thousands or lakhs, so if someone is not from a financially strong background, it’s a tough field to survive in. But this is only secondary. The first concern is the mental toughness to make it in the industry.” Nepotism and politics exist in others fields as well but the stakes in the entertainment industry are higher. “In any other field, you give an interview and work say for six months, a year or ten. We face not one but many auditions a day. Even today if I give 50 auditions, I get about one role. Rejection on everyday basis is what only mentally tough can deal with.”
Jasmin Bhasin believes everybody faces emotional issues at some point or the other. “Everybody knows about being physically healthy but not many know that emotional happiness is as important. Not being happy, having issues, taking decisions, meeting people, handling a situation – when you are facing such things, I would suggest you should believe in yourself and do what makes you feel happy and right, ” she says.
Why blame the industry?
If industry puts extra pressure on actors, Aahana Kumra takes her stand, “Isn’t that what you sign up for when you join the industry. Being in the limelight comes with its own pressure, that’s the bargain an actor makes while choosing this field. So many times, I lost opportunities because someone else was in producers’ good books, but that doesn’t make me take my life. I am actually tired of our industry being blamed for everything.”
Dr Sachin Kaushik, senior consultant, opines that the pressure of being constantly in the limelight makes actors more prone to stress than other professionals. “Many factors contribute to actors falling prey to depression, including the constant social media pressure, erratic work hours, at times leading to excessive substance abuse. Add to that they spend considerable time away from family that eliminates the chances of close ones catching on suicidal hints and possible intervention.”
Sharing Sandeep Nahar’s picture from Kesari, Akshay Kumar tweeted, “Heartbreaking to know about #SandeepNahar’s passing away. A smiling young man passionate for food as I remember him from Kesari. Life’s unpredictable. Please seek help if ever feeling low. Peace for his soul.”