It has been one month since the unfortunate demise of Sushant Singh Rajput. The incident triggered a massive outrage among people on and off social media. The outrage has resulted into the following ‘’initiatives’’ by the people who were saddened by the alleged harassment and mental trauma caused to Sushant that pushed him to take his life.
- Most of the netizens seem to have agreed to boycott movies of Dharma Productions, Yashraj films and of all other stars who are part of the so called ‘’nepo-gang’’. Considering the cinemas do not seem to be opening in the near future, the effectiveness of this can only be tested maybe at Diwali or Christmas- when Sooryavanshi and 83 the movie release. Both of them either star or are made by the member of nepotism gang. But they also star and involve a lot of people (in fact this number will be much larger) who are outsiders to the industry. So the boycott gang will have an ethical dilemma here, which will also be the case for a lot of Dharma/Yashraj movies who star outsiders. (Dostana 2 starring Kartik Aryan) Not just boycott, some people even found time to burn effigies of Salman Khan and Karan Johar amid the pandemic.
- Petitions were filed in court against big names of the film industry who were supposedly responsible for the nepotism in the industry. Needless to say, they were dismissed and wasted the time of an over-burdened judiciary. They were perhaps based on the rants of Ms Kangana Ranaut against the ‘’nepo-kids’’. While she is arguably the most talented actor that we have today, employing her sister as her manager and her brother as the legal and finance head of her company is an irony that she couldn’t fathom it seems.
- In their angst against harassment and trauma that Sushant was subjected to, perhaps the angry public decided to harass and abuse those who seemed to be responsible for it. Just scroll through the social media profiles (facebook, Instagram, twitter) of any of these – Karan Johar, Alia Bhatt, Sonam Kapoor to see what can be called a case of cyber-harassment. From being called a ‘Chakka, Hijra (it gets must worse) to suicide wish for his kids – Karan Johar’s punishment, in the view of angry netizens was perhaps to be abused for his sexuality and body mannerisms. From rape threats to her and her sister, death-wish for her family and boyfriend, Alia Bhatt’s punishment for being a star-kid and working in movies which were successful was perhaps this in the eyes of angry netizens. Same for Sonam Kapoor – whose punishment for not knowing Sushant when he had just 2 releases was to hear the vilest and horrifying things for her family.
- Meanwhile, the police continued their investigation and nothing surprising has come out of it till now. As known already in the public domain, Yashraj had signed a 3 films deal with him out of 2 had released and 3rd (Paani) was in production due to which Sushant missed out on many good projects including a few of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Later Yashraj backed out of the third movie. If there has been a breach of legal terms of the contract, the police should take action. This is awaited.
The point is, protest is necessary for anything which we- as individual or group feel is not right. But as a society there should be maturity and sensitivity around the right ways to protest. Just like physical violence is not acceptable as protest, bullying and harassment should not be the way. Not only it dilutes the real problem and shifts focus from real solution to theatrics and drama, it also perpetuates a cycle of hatred and violence. If we really feel sad for Sushant and many others whose talent gets lost in the crowd of mediocrity, nepotism and cartels, we must start with giving all kinds of movies the right chance, let the streaming platforms thrive and avoid watching pirated movies, and yes by all means, do not watch movies of Karan Johar, Alia bhatt or anyone you have a problem with – but do not burn or vandalize theatres, and let those who want to watch peacefully.