While actor Sushant Singh Rajput's shocking death has left the entire country shaken, it has also brought to light some wounds that have been long festering in the Indian film industry. What started with condolences from some of the biggest names in the industry on Sunday has snowballed into an entirely different conversation in the past couple of days as industry insiders call out Bollywood elite's hypocrisy in the entire matter.
The who's who of Bollywood have been accused of sharing empty condolences on social media and being the same people who sabotaged his career while he was alive. Those who have had a taste of penetrating through the industry's chasms have been calling out the industry bigwigs for the nepotism that runs deep in the industry.
On Sunday, Dabangg director Abhinav Kashyap took to Twitter to say that 'The Bollywood Privilege Club must sit down and think hard tonight', hinting that nepotism and alienation from industry members might have caused Sushant's distress. The director has now shared an open letter alleging how he too has been a target of sustained gaslighting and bullying by the industry bigwigs and how it has effectively ruined his career and mental health both.
In his letter, Abhinav has also called out the the treachery of talent management in the Indian film industry. He writes, "The suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput brings to the forefront a much bigger problem of what many of us have been dealing with. Exactly what might compel a person to commit suicide?? I fear his death is just the tip of the iceberg just like the #metoo movement was for a much bigger malaise in Bollywood. The death of Sushant Singh Rajput brings under scanner the role YRF talent Management Agency might have played in pushing him towards his suicide but that is for the authorities to investigate.”
Abhinav talks about how "every Talent Manager and all Talent Management Agencies of Bollywood are a potential death Trap for Artists" who are regarded as outsiders in the industry. He further shares that he has had the first-hand experience in the same as well and accuses Salman Khan and his family of sabotaging his career.
Recalling his own experience, Abhinav shares, "The reason I moved out of making Dabangg 2 ten years ago is that Arbaaz Khan in collusion with Sohail Khan and family was trying to take control of my career by bullying me. Arbaaz Khan sabotaged my second project with Shree Ashtavinayak Films that I was signed up with by personally calling their head Mr. Raj Mehta and threatening him with dire consequences if they made a film with me.”
He goes on further alleging that after Arbaaz it was Sohail who personally reached out to the filmmakers to get Abhinav kicked out of a project and that the family did not stop after all this while as well when he finally managed to create Besharam with Reliance Entertainment.
He writes “But lo behold... Mr. Salman Khan and family sabotaged the release of the film and got their PROs to run a sustained negative smear campaign against me and my film BESHARAM before release. This scared the distributors from buying my film. Reliance Entertainment and I were capable and courageous enough to release the film ourselves but the battle had just begun. My enemies, which there were many ran a sustained negative Trolling and badmouthing campaign against the film till the Box Office of my film collapsed. But to their horror, Besharam had still netted 58 crores before it went out of theaters.”
The director accuses the Khan family of not stopping with their bullying and constantly being after his career and how the same has had its adverse effect on him. “All my projects and creative endeavours have been sabotaged and I have been repeatedly threatened with life and rape threats given to/for the female members of my family. The sustained gaslighting and bullying destroyed my mental health and that of my family and led to my divorce and breaking up of my family in 2017," writes Abhinav.
He concludes his letter, "I refuse to cow down and will fight on till I see the end of either them or me. Enough tolerance. It's time to fight back. So this is not a threat, it’s an open challenge. Sushant Singh Rajput has moved on and I hope he is happier wherever he is but I will make sure that no more innocent will kill himself over lack of work with dignity in Bollywood. I hope suffering actors and creative artists will share my post on various social media platforms as will the media and people who patronize the entertainment industry."
From Abhinav Kashyap to Kangana Ranaut, as actors and creative artists come out with their experiences in the entertainment industry, this can definitely turn into a movement targetted to examine the industry's nepotism as well as vicious industry patrons who have hitherto ruled unquestioned.
Featured Image: Twitter