The film industry in Mumbai has been facing serious scrutiny and has been a subject of allegations after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. There have been “relentless attacks” on the reputation of the industry. An open letter which was released recently by Bollywood filmmakers addresses the allegations of nepotism, bullying and drugs and terms them as “vile and vicious trolling”. It also urges newcomers not to be discouraged by the criticism of the film industry.
The Producers Guild of India has said in the letter that “There are some things more important than ad revenues and ratings. The tragic death of a promising young star has been used by some as a tool to defame and slander the film industry and its members.”
The letter further states that “A picture has been painted of the industry being a terrible place for outsiders to aspire to; a place that treats those who dare to enter it with contempt and derision; a murky den of substance abuse and criminality.”
While the letter admitted to the industry being imperfect and having flaws, it suggested that “to paint an entire industry with the same brush is a gross misrepresentation of reality”.
Calling it a “much-needed move”, filmmaker Sanjay Gupta says that he is very happy with the statement and totally supports the guild.“It is ridiculous that people are maligning the whole industry with no proof. Earlier it was nepotism, then that was thrown out of the window, then came Bollywood mafia and now the drug cartel narrative, which has nothing to do with Bollywood. How do you keep on maligning the film industry,” asks Gupta.
“There is no single industry that does not have a few people who might be not be doing the right thing, that is not the reflection on the whole industry, argues director Kunal Kohli, while adding, “I really support the letter because people have been asking why isn’t the industry talking. You have to understand that there are certain associations within the industry, given the right time, they will talk. They are doing it , the guild is one of the premiere organizations and I am sure many such associations will do so in the coming days.”
I am so glad to read this. All ignorant ill informed outsiders must stop now. I am so proud to be an outsider and a part of my lovely joint family called Indian film industry. https://t.co/MCGiNg36Ie
— Vishal Bhardwaj (@VishalBhardwaj) September 4, 2020
Many celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Farhan Akhtar, Ekta Kapoor, Bipasha Basu Singh Grover, Nimrat Kaur, Hansal Mehta, Dia Mirza, Abhishek Bachchan, Rakul Preet Singh, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Vishal Bhardwaj, took to social media to express solidarity with the guild.
Sushant Singh Rajput, a Bollywood actor who had successfully transitioned from TV to movies, died on June 14. His death sparked off the allegations against the film fraternity for bullying of newcomers, nepotism, drug abuse and toxic rivalries.
“However, a concerted effort has been made to single out the film industry as one that specifically inhibits and prohibits new talent from the outside from thriving. This cannot be further from the truth,” said the letter.
“Being born into the industry most definitely affords you the privilege of access and a first break, but after that, it is up to each individual’s talent, hard work and drive to propel them forward. This is a place that ultimately rewards your talent, work ethic and ability to connect with an audience – regardless of your religion, gender, caste or economic strata.”