Sushant Singh’s Tragic Death Has Turned Into an Opportunity for Bollywood to Make it About Themselves

Bollywood

Sushant Singh’s Tragic Death Has Turned Into an Opportunity for Bollywood to Make it About Themselves

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

This weekend, the talented and promising Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput took his own life. The tragedy of his suicide brought on a wave of grief that enveloped his family, his friends, and the industry in which he worked. However, few people could have predicted that within 24 hours, the conversation around Rajput’s death would pivot from being focussed on the late actor, to an axe-grinding session where Bollywood would come under fire for its pervasive culture of nepotism, which some, like actress Kangana Ranaut among others, alleged led to Rajput’s suicide.

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If you want to talk about him, celebrate his life. It was larger than life like the movies he aspired to make . Celebrate his work . He put his heart and soul into his craft , he was bothered more about research than make up . He was about quality not vanity . He was a bright star . That’s why he shined sheer magic. Celebrate his brilliance . He thrived for excellence , mediocrity affected him.He rejected anything conventional as easily as he rejected godfathers and big ticket films that he didn’t believe in. He didn’t take calls of the high and mighty if he didn’t want to . He didn’t care about money, I’ve seen him return pay checks worth crores . If he wanted to switch his phone off and go farming or fishing , he would . He broke every rule and burnt bridges sometimes just to light his way . Cos frankly my dear he didn’t give a damn . He was my best friend , my special son. He was my Mozart. He’s given me music , culture , art , stars , poetry, books and most importantly , memories. He didn’t care about most people or what they thought of him . I think he barely had three friends that he really cared about . I was one of them and for that I will always be thankful . He touched every single person’s life and path he crossed . Knowing Rajput was loving him. I just want everyone to know and remember him for the person he really was . Not this manufactured version the peddlers are trying to sell. Maybe he was too good for all of you . He was pure diamond . Maybe you all didn’t recognise that cos you are only used to plastic . You didn’t deserve him. He was intelligent beyond belief and some of you can barely read. And you know what ? He didn’t care about all of you or your dumb opinions then . He won’t care any less now . But I do . Protecting his legacy is important to me . So setting the record straight once and for all .

A post shared by Rohini iyer (@rohiniyer) on

These allegations have been challenged by Rohini Iyer, a celebrity publicist and ex-manager of Rajput’s. In a series of posts on Instagram, Iyer rubbished the narrative that nepotism drove Rajput to suicide, writing, “He rejected your parties, you didn’t shun him. He rejected your lobbies. He didn’t need camps, he had his own kingdom. He was a fighter. He made his own place in the sun. He was an outsider and he never cared about being a insider.” Iyer is the head of the PR firm Raindrop Media, which is affiliated to Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Shilpa Shetty, and Saif Ali Khan among others.

However, there are those who doubt the authenticity of Iyer’s social media tribute. Given the proximity of Iyer’s firm to many of the people at whom fingers are being pointed for promoting a culture of nepotism and exclusion, some on social media are questioning the intent and timing of her obituary for a talent whom she no longer represented.

The fog of misinformation surrounding Rajput’s death has only grown thicker after Iyer’s post, which she purportedly made to clear the air. The endless coverage and dissection of his death has only added to the lack of clarity. One of Rajput’s former co-stars, actress Kriti Sanon, vented about the fake and performative nature of people commenting on Rajput’s suicide on her Instagram, writing, “1 request media to either not be present there or at least maintain some dignity and distance. Behind the starry glitter and the so-called glamour, we are normal human beings with the same feelings as you have.”

The tragedy of Rajput’s death is one that seems to have shook Bollywood. Instead of letting him rest in peace, too many people have taken this sad occasion as an opportunity to further their own ends. And now, the cracks in the façade are beginning to show.

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