Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Written by Shrena D’Souza (@shrenathesnitch) Featured image by Yatharth Roy Vibhakar (@midaseared)
I’ve never been Bollywood’s biggest fan, I’ve never really followed stories or gossip or fandoms within its world. But you see I’ve grown up here, in India, where for years, we’ve known how even when religion might unite and divide, cricket and Bollywood will always bring us together.
I’m writing this on the 4th of August, a good 50 days or so after the very sad and untimely demise of Sushant Singh Rajput, and it is hard for me to write this for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t know much about him, I think I’ve seen only one movie featuring him. Most of what I’ve found out about him and his mind, I’ve heard and read post his passing. Secondly, I don’t want to make this a hate-note directed at Bollywood, because quite frankly, I don’t care much about the people it comprises. And lastly, I’ve lost someone very close to me at a young age, and no reasoning or soothing will ever make it better. This could be an unlinked trigger. But you see, writing is something that has always worked for me when I’ve felt strong emotions, good, bad, all of it, and this story of this young man has left me so upset.
I don’t know how fond you are of Bollywood, or how you see the people it houses. Do you go beyond its superficial image and delve into what’s within and still respect it? Do you endorse it? However you’ve felt about it all this time, is your choice and I won’t force you to change your stance. I will however, ask of you to wait. Take a minute, and open your mind to a lot of truth that surfaces yesterday, today and tomorrow.
This is the very first time I’ve closely followed a Bollywood related story or event and it has been revealing, in a lot of ways. Aspects of the industry we would passively encounter are being pushed into the limelight while names that have hogged the limelight, for the first time, shy away. And while I’m glad this conversation is finally happening, I hate the circumstances it is happening under, but hey, at least it’s happening. We’ve waited a long time for this side to show. You see, you don’t need to follow the industry closely to hear of stories relating to multiple cases of murder and death, drug and human trafficking, match fixing, money laundering, sexual abuse, and so many other rather “unethical” and sketchy, for the literal sense of the word, stories coming up with rather prominent links to big and small names of the industry. We’ve somehow knowingly or unknowingly, I’m not sure, “forgiven” it? I mean, the people behind it are still out here, performing for you and me, quite averagely, might I add.
And so I ask you to wait, with me, collectively, all of us. We really need to hold on for a good minute and replay all of what has happened, this time with a very active conscience, forgive what’s forgivable, but place at the forefront of our minds all the unforgivable and unjustifiable acts that’ve played out over the 100 years and more that Bollywood has been around for. And we need to play these thoughts out until we’ve made it clear enough to them, that we don’t see how it’s okay, because it’s really not. It’ll never be okay to kill or drive someone’s child to death for the sake of your own’s fame. It’ll never be okay to defame the legacy someone worked incredibly hard to build and dismiss it like it means nothing. It’ll never be okay to rise above law and humanity. And you know, it’s not like the people who indulge in this kind of crass behavior don’t know it’s wrong, of course they do, but they’ve done it once and we’ve not objected, and so they do it again and again and again, getting bolder each time. And so we’re party to the crime, because we acted like blind idiots who chose to trust their on screen selves, believing that’s the same honest person they’d be off screen, and so in our silence or cowardice or negligence, they’ve found power.
So I really want you to wait, so you can think about this and walk out of here disturbed by what’s happening, because that stands as a mirror to the compass of our conscience, our sense of right and wrong, just and unjust. Wait, because that moment can turn into something revolutionary. And while it might not correct the wrong, it could prevent a lot more that’s to come.
All you’ve got to do is wait, and think. It’ll all come to you.