The sudden demise of Sushant Singh Rajput due to suicide left the entire industry and moviegoers stunned. But what was even more shocking is how his demise was used by people with vested interests to further their agenda or settle old scores. This article solely focuses on the lies they have spread, few of which caught on and led to hatred against Karan Johar, Salman Khan, etc. Moreover, it also looks at past instances which will make it clear that they can’t be trusted or that they cannot be lapped up in any way.
A day after Sushant Singh Rajput passed away, Kangana Ranaut, on June 15, once again used this opportunity to further her nepotism agenda. She accused the head honchos of Bollywood for not acknowledging his work. Her video also further strengthened the narrative that Sushant was also deprived of work.
To say that this reason drove him to suicide is too much. Also, to feel that he was not getting work from bigger producers is a white lie, already proved above with Rumy Jafry’s quote. Sushant Singh Rajput’s last theatrical release, ‘Chhichhore’, was directed by Nitesh Tiwari, who earlier made ‘Dangal’ (2016), the biggest Bollywood hit ever. Isn’t this a feat that a director who holds the record of making the biggest blockbuster signed Sushant? Not just that, it was produced by two of the biggest banners, Fox Star Studios and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, the latter run by Sajid Nadiadwala! Even his earlier films like ‘Drive’ (2019) (produced by Karan Johar), ‘Sonchiriya’ (2019) (produced by Ronnie Screwvala; directed by Abhishek Chaubey), ‘Kedarnath’ (2018) (produced by Ronnie Screwvala; directed by Abhishek Kapoor), ‘Raabta’ (2017) (produced and directed by Dinesh Vijan) were all backed by big names.
As for box office track record, ‘Chhichhore’ earned nearly Rs. 147 crore, and it was one of the highest grossers of 2019. Even ‘Kedarnath’ did very well, earning around Rs. 70 crore.
Kangana Ranaut, however, will not tell you all these facts. Also, Kangana’s reference about bullying is ultimate hypocrisy. In the last 3-4 years, she has been in the news more for her bullying than her films. It all started with Hrithik Roshan and Rakesh Roshan being slammed by her on ‘Aap Ki Adalat’, days before the release of her film ‘Simran’ (2017). A year before that, Adhyayan Suman also opened up as to how she had made his life hell.
Sonu Sood is the national hero today but if Kangana had her way, in 2018, she would have made him the national villain. This is the time when she took over ‘Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi’ (2019) forcibly from its director Krish. She decided to reshoot and asked Sonu Sood, who was then a part of the film, to allot dates. Sonu made it clear that Krish is the director and he will reshoot, provided the original director is calling the shots. Kangana, hence, replaced Sonu and told media that “Sonu refused to work with a woman director”! To make such allegations in today’s times can destroy someone’s life and career. Thankfully, Sonu Sood got spared. That he had earlier worked with a female director, Farah Khan in ‘Happy New Year’ (2014), also saved him.
Not just Krish, even Simran’s writer and editor Apurva Asrani was similarly ousted from the project. Then last year, she publicly fought with a journalist named Justin Rao, after which her sister Rangoli Chandel started a hate campaign against him on Twitter. Kangana and Rangoli have also in the past, without provocation, attacked Alia Bhatt on multiple occasions. The latter, meanwhile, has always maintained a dignified silence.
So is it fair on her part to blame Bollywood for bullying and arm-twisting when Kangana Ranaut herself indulges in relentless trolling? Such kind of attacks can also affect one’s mental health. Hence, she should be the last one on earth to talk about it.
Another thing to ponder is – how come Kangana Ranaut got films despite taking ‘panga’ with Karan? If the brigade is claiming that Karan can stop Sushant from doing films, then he should have kicked out Kangana, since ‘he rules Bollywood’! Yet, we saw Kangana bagging ‘Judgmentall Hai Kya’, produced by Karan’s ally Ekta Kapoor. Her other films like ‘Manikarnika – The Queen Of Jhansi’ and ‘Panga’ were backed by Zee Studios and Fox Star Studios respectively. Both these studios also co-produce or present films of Karan Johar.
Lastly, her nepotism angle now also seems hollow and even laughable as she has hired both her siblings. While her sister Rangoli is her manager, her brother is now her production partner!
Finally, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur too jumped in the bandwagon. He was to make a film with Sushant Singh Rajput named ‘Paani’, produced by Yash Raj Films, in 2014-15. In 2015, the film got shelved. Shekhar told Manoj Bajpayee on social media how both he and Sushant cried when this film got canned and that Sushant had given his blood and sweat in prepping for the part. He added fuel to the fire to the narrative that the big bad world of Bollywood was taking away films from Sushant.
What he didn’t tell however is that this isn’t the first film of his which didn’t see the light of the day. In the past, he has abandoned at least 12 films, not just in Bollywood but also in Hollywood! A few of them like ‘Paani’ or Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Time Machine’ never got made. In the rest of the films, someone else took over as director. Sanjay Kapoor’s debut film ‘Raja’ (1995) was to be made by Shekhar Kapur. Sanjay in an interview said, “Shekhar Kapur was initially supposed to direct ‘Prem’ (1995). But the problem with Shekhar is that he is a very lazy guy, which is why he has made such few films over 30 years. He never wanted to start it and that led to my frustration.”
The director of ‘Dabangg’ (2010) and ‘Besharam’ (2013) also jumped in to settle old scores. In an explosive Facebook post, he said that post ‘Dabangg’, Salman Khan and his family members tried to bully him and that they destroyed his career. Though he directed ‘Besharam’ after that, he claims the Khans sabotaged the project because of which the film flopped at the box office. He also accused them of not allowing distributors to buy the film and hence he claims producers Reliance Entertainment had to self-distribute ‘Besharam’.
Those who didn’t know were shocked but the insiders and avid movie buffs know these claims don’t hold water at all. Firstly, during ‘Besharam’s release, Abhinav never gave any hint that Khans were destroying him. He said to Komal Nahta then that he was asked to direct ‘Dabangg 2’ but he chose not to.
One can argue that Abhinav Kashyap might have said this out of fear and bullying. However, what still doesn’t change is the fact that ‘Besharam’ failed not because of any negative campaigns. It starred Ranbir Kapoor and came immediately after his gigantic blockbuster, ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ (2013). Also, Reliance has a distribution network of its own. Hence, to claim Reliance didn’t get buyers is false. The buzz for ‘Besharam’ was so high that it released in 3400 screens, as opposed to 2900-screen-release of ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’. It also opened better than ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, earning Rs. 19.87 crore. However, the film was panned by audiences and hence it flopped. And no, there was nothing fishy about the way it crashed. The same year, Sajid Khan’s much-hyped ‘Himmatwala’ (2013) also similarly bombed. In recent times, Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ (2017) and Aamir Khan’s ‘Thugs Of Hindostan’ (2018) too have severely bombed at the ticket window after opening well.
What’s also bewildering is that Abhinav claims Khans didn’t allow him to work. If that’s the case, how come Abhinav’s brother Anurag Kashyap continued to flourish? In fact, a prominent actor like Ranbir Kapoor starred in ‘Besharam’. Why did Salman and family ‘allow’ that to happen? Hence, all his claims seem made up.
Kamaal R Khan (KRK)
According to a tweet written on February 27 by KRK, the actor was banned by 7 production houses – Dharma Productions, Sajid Nadiadwala’s Nadiadwala Grandons, Yash Raj Films, T-Series, Salman Khan Films, Dinesh Vijan’s Maddock Films and Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji. Yet again, just like Sanjay Nirupam, KRK didn’t give any basis of the claims he made.
In fact, KRK in the past have made several derogatory and insulting comments against Sushant. From calling him a flop actor to a non-actor to an actor who’s unfit for films, KRK has not left any opportunity to pin him down, without provocation. The irony is that people are baying for Karan Johar’s blood today because they claim he insulted Sushant on his show ‘Koffee With Karan’ and that in a way led to him ending his life. By that logic, KRK has done far more damage to Sushant’s reputation. Then how can people base their anger on the claims made by a man who has been ripped apart by KRK every now and then?
KRK, moreover, even had an audacity to later put up a video where he says that he knew Sushant Singh Rajput personally and was a dear friend. In the end of the video, he’s seen shedding (crocodile) tears. It was an overreacting at its worst. How people fell for him and his claims beats me.
The Congress politician put up a tweet alleging that Sushant Singh Rajput had signed as many as 7 films after he delivered the super-hit film ‘Chhichhore’ in September 2019. He claimed that all these films were snatched away from him. Sanjay Nirupam didn’t explain as to how he came to this conclusion and the source of his claims. Sadly, the contents of this tweet have now gone viral.
Surprisingly, none of the media houses ever reported all these months that Sushant Singh Rajput is losing films. If such a huge development had happened in his life, it would have made headlines or at least someone would have reported. Moreover, writer-director Rumy Jafry revealed to Mumbai Mirror that he was to start a film with Sushant. He said that Sushant himself wasn’t interested in working in films.
Sudhir Kumar Ojha
A few days ago, a lawyer from Muzzafarpur, Bihar, named Sudhir Kumar Ojha filed a case against Karan Johar, Salman Khan, Ekta Kapoor, Sanjay Leela Bhansali etc. He claims they are responsible for Sushant’s death. The case was filed under Sections 306, 109, 504 & 506 of the IPC.
The fact that a case was filed made the anti-Karan Johar haters even surer that their campaign is justified. What the people and even the media didn’t realize is that this man is a publicity seeker who has filed several cases against high-profile people in the past. Here’s a look at other cases he has filed:
(i). 49 celebrities had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over rising intolerance in India. In October 2019, Ojha filed a sedition case against them. However, the police themselves closed the case. “The SSP recommended closure of the case and action against the complainant for filing a false case without any rhyme or reason,” police spokesperson Jitendra Kumar said. “The investigating officer in the case will file the final report at the local court within a day or two.”
(ii). In 2007, he filed a PIL against the makers and actors of ‘Dhoom 2’ (2006), accusing them of promoting obscenity by filming a kissing scene. According to Ojha, the case was dropped after the lawyers of the filmmakers and actors declared they would not keep kissing scenes in future films (it’s highly unlikely any producer would give such an assurance)
(iii). In 2013, Ojha’s PIL against Amitabh Bachchan for promoting the consumption of instant noodles Maggi, which he described as “hazardous to health”, was dismissed by the court.
(iv). He had lodged an FIR against Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna and 12 others for showing Manmohan Singh in a bad light in ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ (2019).
(v). He had filed a case against Raveena Tandon and two others accusing them of causing disruption of road traffic during her visit to Muzaffarpur on October 12, 2018.
A quick look at the FIR filed against Karan Johar and others makes it clear that even this case filed by Sudhir Kumar Ojha won’t stand in court at all. Amusingly, he has listed Kangana Ranaut as witness to the case! But then looking at his past, it seems he’s fighting a case merely for publicity and not really to win or to get justice for Sushant.
Can Bollywood Be Completely Absolved?
Surely not! Sushant Singh Rajput’s demise is a time for introspection and what has gone wrong. But the actor has not left behind a suicide note and most people abusing Karan Johar and others did not know Sushant Singh Rajput personally. Here’s hoping people look at facts and don’t fall for any lie they see on social media. And if you still want to bash them, please do by all means. But then, please leave poor Sushant out of this. It’s no longer about him and using his death to troll them is highly unjustified.
And finally, have a look at those who were close to him. Till date, no one out of them have raised any finger towards Karan Johar or any other filmmaker. Rohini Iyer, publicist and Sushant’s close friend, wrote two explosive posts on Instagram (Part 1, Part 2) wherein she completely squashed the hate campaign going against Bollywood. Some of her note-worthy quotes were: “He rejected your parties, you didn’t shun him”, “He was an outsider and he never cared about being an insider. That’s because he had a life beyond films. The industry was a small part of his life, he had many worlds beyond that”, “He didn’t care about awards. He walked out of an award function just cos he got bored. This was even before they announced his best actor award”, “He broke every rule and burnt bridges sometimes just to light his way” and “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”.
Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister too wrote a beautiful post and hasn’t blamed anyone. His father, in his police statement, has done the same. According to reports, even close friend Rhea Chakraborty has ruled out any agenda. So it’s upto you now. Would you believe these people, who knew him very closely and therefore knew him better? Or would you like to believe an opportunistic politician, troublemaker actress, publicity-hungry advocate, serial film ditcher for whom Sushant’s death was just another way of grabbing attention? The choice is yours.
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