Since Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic demise there has been a gnawing sense of unrest within the entertainment industry. In the month past, so many fingers have been raised, so many questions posed, and so many testimonies revealed as people speculate about the reason for his suicide.
There has been a social media faction that continues to believe that Sushant didn’t really die of suicide but was actually “murdered” by an elitist industry that refuses to make any space for the 'outsiders.' And while there also exists a dissenting faction, the fact is that there have been others who have been trampled at the hands of industry politics and elitism.
Shortly after Sushant's demise, actress Koena Mitra had raised the same in a media statement as she said, “A lot of people have experienced this, he is not the first one. The film industry will not treat you like family till the time your family doesn’t belong to the industry or if you are not a camp follower. It’s pretty sad. He’s not the first one and there are many such Sushants in our industry. I would never call him a coward, no one knows what he was going through. No one has the right to call him weak, quitter and that he couldn’t handle it. Maybe he was very angry and knew that it was of no help to show his anger.”
Confused about your stance on elitism in the industry? Here are seven actors who opened up about being rejected by the industry and proved that elitism very well exits:
Bareilly Ki Barfi actress Kriti Sanon has also time and again hinted at various forms of rejections that she had to face in the industry. “Not being from a film family obviously makes it way more difficult to get in and find your place in the industry,” she had said in a media statement earlier this month.
In an interview with a digital media platform, the actress also admitted of being rejected and replaced by a star kid in one of her films. ''If I had been from a film family, I would not have to reach out (to directors).’’ Speaking about the same film, she added, “I don't know if they dialed the phone or not, but someone, who was from a film family or there was a little more buzz about that person, had replaced me. So yes, it's happened but I don't know the reason behind it. The director might have genuinely wanted that person. It has happened a few times.''
Manmarziyaan actress Taapsee Pannu has often talked about facing rejection owing to a lack of vocational training. "I still face rejection. I am not a trained actor. I have worked really hard. I haven't done any acting course. I didn't know anything about the film industry. I had no guidance. I have done films in the South and I made some decisions that went wrong. but I think it's okay to fall,” she shared last year in a media statement.
Throwing light on how deep this rejection went, she further added, “There was a point in my career when I was called the bad luck charm in the South because there were three-four films of mine that didn't do well at the box office."
In another media statement, the actress had openly accepted that she faced rejection for not belonging to a pedigree family boasting of a stronghold in the industry. ''It is not a shocker to me that a film went out of my hands, not because I was not credible, but because I was not so-and-so's daughter or sister or dating so-and-so. I used the same hand to pat my back and to pick me up when I get shattered after losing out on a film due to reasons except your credibility to that role,'' she said.
For an industry that conveniently weeds out the outsiders, it wouldn't be a big deal to reject people on the basis of their looks and even someone as talented as Anushka Sharma has had her share of the same.
Back in 2017, Anushka had come out with her experience of rejection in the industry and how it had a huge impact on her. "I have faced rejection from the age of 15. I don't talk about it because there's no need to do that. But, I was constantly getting dropped from shows, picked for an ad and then would get replaced. All that has happened to me, too. Obviously, all that is also an integral part of the industry and life in general. But to experience that at the tender age of 15, to be subjected to and be judged purely on the basis of how you look, it can be very mentally damaging as well. It hits your self-esteem. I have dealt with it," the actress had shared.
She further added, "People go talking about things in a roundabout manner, I'm intelligent enough to understand what they are saying. They might just tell you, 'The look wasn't right'. That's an indirect way of talking about the physical aspect of you. It will always be backed by some politically correct statements, which is fake and to me, that's far more disrespectful. I feel it's better if someone tells me to my face that you aren't good-looking enough for the part. Saamne hi bol do na! I prefer things to be said to me straight-up because otherwise, in that roundabout thing, you also are left confused."
Actress Richa Chadha recently shared a blog post in memory of Sushant Singh Rajput. In the lengthy blog post, while she bid adieu to her dear friend, the actress also spoke about the nasty side of the industry.
According to her, the industry works as a food chain and no one thinks twice before crushing you for their benefits. Calling out the hypocrisy of so many who shared condolences after Sushant's death, she wrote, "Several directors were seen sharing condolence messages a month ago. So many among these have run down movies of their peers pre-release, have replaced actresses who refused to sleep with them at the last minute and several have in fact repeatedly forecasted ‘iska kuch nahi hoga’."
As Vidya Balan gears up for the OTT release of Shakuntala Devi, the actress recently shared about a phase of continued rejection that left her feeling ugly and unworthy. She shared, “Maybe before I got Parineeta, there was a period of about three years when I got replaced in a dozen South films and nothing I did seemed to be working. I thought maybe my dream of becoming an actor will remain an unrealized one. So that was probably a really low ‘low’. The lowest ‘low’!”
“Ups and downs are part of life, they don’t happen only when you’re struggling for your first break, even after becoming an actor, I’ve been through very deep lows. Siddharth, I just talk to him about whatever I’m going through,” Vidya further added.
While a lot of production houses shelved their films from release during the pandemic, others rushed for an OTT release. And while streaming services have projected lucrative offers and a ready space for star-studded films, it hasn’t been the fair for all of them.
Actor Vidyut Jammwal recently called out Disney Hotstar for inviting and intimating only big starrer films for a digital release while conveniently overlooking relatively smaller ones. Replying to a tweet by film critic Taran Adarsh he wrote, “A BIG announcement for sure!! 7 films scheduled for release but only 5 are deemed worthy of representation. 2 films, receive no invitation or intimation. It’s a long road ahead. THE CYCLE CONTINUES.”
A BIG announcement for sure!!— Vidyut Jammwal (@VidyutJammwal) June 29, 2020
7 films scheduled for release but only 5 are deemed worthy of representation. 2 films, receive no invitation or intimation. It’s a long road ahead. THE CYCLE CONTINUES https://t.co/rWfHBy2d77
Actress Genelia Deshmukh also came to Jammwal’s support post the tweet and wrote, “Every film is made with a lot of love, a lot of sweat & a lot of people giving it their all. Its only fair to want a little respect, its only fair to expect an invitation, its only fair to have at least been intimated. But then, sometimes even life is not fair. keep walking my friend,” wrote Genelia.
Just a day after Sushant's demise, Ranvir Shorey took to Twitter to talk about the ‘gatekeepers of Bollywood’ and indirectly hinted at how they reject and choose people as per their whims. Speaking about Sushant's death, he wrote, "It wouldn’t be fair to blame someone for a step that he took himself. He was playing a high stakes game, where it’s winning or lose it all. But something has to be said about the self-appointed ‘gatekeepers of Bollywood’."
He further added, "The power to decide who will be a “star” and who will be left out in the cold. But of course, the coterie that owns the only high stakes table in the casino will never be questioned, because everyone is too busy enjoying the game. Even if they know it’s fixed."
Here's the thread:
The power to decide who will be a “star” and who will be left out in the cold.— Ranvir Shorey (@RanvirShorey) June 15, 2020
But of course, the coterie that owns the only high stakes table in the casino will never be questioned, because everyone is too busy enjoying the game.
Even if they know it’s fixed.
Lastly, it is important to realise that as we talk about industry rejecting some very fine talents, the onus lies equally on us. It lies on us to consume cinema and content that features and values these actors. At the end of the day, it is a cycle and we are all equally responsible.
Featured Image: Instagram