Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide reveals the perils of stardom

Nonika Singh

Suicide, everyone knows, is a preventable tragedy. Only when a vibrant younger star akin to Sushant Singh Rajput chooses to finish his life for causes laborious to fathom, all eyes flip in direction of the business he was part of. Even earlier than his ashes might be immersed, Bollywood’s postmortem started. The business and its bigwigs akin to Karan Johar are usually not just below censure, but in addition going through a authorized grievance.

Barbs are flying left, proper and centre. Voluble critics of nepotism, like Kangana Ranaut, who’s now joined by hordes of others, have made it seem to be an insider-outsider duel. Gifted director Anubhav Sinha referred to as out the privilege membership. Raveena Tandon admitted groupism exists and Ayesha Takia wrote about bullying.

As battlelines get sharpened every day, the query that looms massive is whether or not Bollywood dynamics are a sure-shot recipe for psychological in poor health well being? If one goes by the report of simply the Covid-19 occasions, two younger tv actors referred to as it quits earlier than Sushant’s deadly act shocked us all. As followers and Bollywood grapple with the tragedy, all clearly doesn’t look like effectively within the glamour world. Yet one other query that raises its ugly head is: is the cube so closely loaded in opposition to outsiders that it might set one on the trail of self-destruction?

Actor Aahana Kumra, final seen in Netflix’s Betaal, is candid sufficient to share what it means to be an outsider in filmdom the place expertise is neither immediately proportional to success nor to alternatives. Though she didn’t know Sushant personally, she admits to having been in the same house and has skilled lows which might have pushed her into the same course. “It sure is an industry where ‘fit nahi’ is a term that is bandied upon ‘outsiders’ so often that it could break anyone’s resolve. It’s a constant war within where you face rejections day in and out,” she says.

Rahul Mittra, producer of the hit franchise Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster is a basic case of a rank outsider. He makes no bones about the truth that the business is riddled with nepotism. He says, “Nepotism cuts the queue and provides you not just access but opportunity on a platter.” Having stated that he additionally feels that to scale back the complete debate to outsider-insider binary is lacking the actual challenge. And the crux of the matter, he states, is: “This is a cut-throat and cruel industry where survival for everyone, even star kids, is difficult. You are up for public scrutiny week after week, being assessed not for your talent but box-office figures. How much was spent on the film, how much it gained or lost, is the hero dating the heroine, was there a casting couch, everything is grist for the gossip mill. To make matters worse, in case you fail, there are huge numbers out there gloating over your misery.”

Actor of many a major movie, Divya Dutta agrees that if you’re a star, the pressures are higher. “You have to behave and act in a certain way and be seen at the right place,” she says. Ah, the perils and trappings of stardom… Aahana feels it’s not simply stardom that one must take with a pinch of salt. “Rather, don’t take the people around you seriously.” Exactly the identical sentiments which Hansal Mehta posted: “Here are many young ‘outsiders’ in this industry. Remember, there is an establishment that will make you feel like the next big thing until they need you. They will drop you and mock you as soon as you falter. Do not fall for the trap. The ones that celebrate you will, some time later, celebrate your downfall.”

Mittra says one can co-exist with nepotism so long as there aren’t any deliberate makes an attempt to sabotage contemporary expertise. “At some point, all of us face resistance. Even when I was producing Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster, I was told to not take a certain director or actor. Similarly, when Viacom 18 pumped in the money for my sequel, they must have been asked, ‘Why back him?’,” he provides.

Negotiating your approach out of this unpredictable maze, the place uncertainty hangs like Damocles’ sword, requires tad greater than sheer expertise. The trick, business insiders consider, lies to find a stability between the skilled and private. “Sadly, newcomers are told — learn horse-riding, go to an acting school, join a gym, but no one tells you about keeping the mind fit,” factors Mittra. He and others like Aahana make a powerful case for therapists, particularly educated for the job, to grasp what it means to be part of this inventive and mercurial career.

Divya might not have a lot religion in skilled assist however she does reinforce the necessity for protecting communication channels open always. “Not just outsiders, everyone out here is insecure, for despite millions following you, the journey in Bollywood is lonely and very personal.”

Among the numerous ironies of Bollywood can be the truth that the business that challenged psychological well being taboos, each onscreen and off, falls sufferer to its final draw back, repeatedly. The outrage over Sushant’s suicide could also be stemming from a justified place of injustice and should even give vent to bottled-up anger. However, it stays to be seen whether or not it would steer the conversations round psychological well being in a high-pressure, high-stakes business in direction of fruition. Judging by the fracas and furore on social media, the very severe challenge of melancholy too runs the chance of being hijacked by the motley tribe proactive on social media that judges as simply because it forgets.

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