June 14 (Suhani Singh / IndiaToday) – Sushant Singh Rajput was not the most followed actor on Instagram or Twitter but, post his death, he dominated social media trends for a large part of 2020 as thousands turned keyboard warriors in the crusade for justice for him.
Hashtags such as #JusticeforSushantSinghRajput, #Warriors4SSR emerged; conspiracy theories floated on Whatsapp; actors and Bollywood filmmakers were trolled on their social media handles, and all norms of privacy and decency were thrown to the winds as people tried to seek the truth behind the actor’s suicide on June 14, 2020.
Some actors turned off their comments; some reduced the time spent on social media and a few responded with silence.
Mental health matters
For some, there is still no closure on how Sushant died even though evidence suggests that it was by suicide. However, if there’s one thing we do know, it is that the actor was concerned about his mental health.
He consulted multiple psychologists and sought therapy and medical intervention because he knew it was instrumental for his overall well-being. Deepika Padukone had already made mental health a talking point after her battle with depression, but that conversation has been lacking in Sushant’s case.
Trivialising, mocking and ignoring mental health is not a solution.
The never-ending nepotism battle
The inside vs. outsider debate surfaced again with a multiple National Award-winning actress playing a leading role in dictating news coverage around how some stakeholders in the industry was to be held accountable for the actor’s “murder”.
Sushant’s career graph, though, was proof that outsiders can succeed on the basis of their talent. He had films like Kai Po Che, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Kedarnath and Chhichhore to his credit along with critically-acclaimed ones such as Sonchiriya.
But the definition of success varies from individual to individual. Did Sushant feel he didn’t get his due and was overlooked in favour of other actors? Was he heartbroken over losing projects and seeing others like NASA-based drama Chanda Mama Door Ke and the Shekhar Kapur-directed drama Paani never take off? These are some questions that remain unanswered.
The dangers of drugs
The Sushant Singh Rajput case saw the involvement of the Mumbai Police, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and, finally, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
But the agency that opened the biggest can of worms was the NCB, which recently arrested Sushant’s flatmate, Siddharth Pithani. The organisation summoned multiple actresses for interrogation last year as it expanded its investigation beyond the Sushant case to dig deep into Bollywood’s drug cartel.
Rhea Chakraborty and her brother were arrested; so were some alleged suppliers. Karan Johar’s name and the house party he hosted once again came under scrutiny. The nexus between Bollywood and the drug mafia ultimately became a diversion from Sushant Singh Rajput himself.
The Bollywood bubble burst
Sushant’s death sent shockwaves in the film industry and led to much introspection on how little everyone knows each other. That so many were unaware about the actor’s psychological woes, with some expressing regret about not keeping in touch. Hum Saath Saath Hain, it seems, is just a catchy film title in Bollywood.
Sushant’s case exemplifies that despite being in the spotlight and surrounded by an entourage, it can be quite lonely at the top for actors.