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Sushant Singh Death: Bollywood Turned Bullywood By Dr Neelam Batra-Verma

Investigations in the Mysterious Death of Actor Sushant Singh Should Also Open up the Case for a Pattern of Bullying in Bollywood

The tragic death of Sushant Singh Rajput not only has seen tons of skeletons tumble out of hideous closets of Bollywood but also proved that the common man is the most powerful; that the common man is not ready to tolerate injustice; that the common man will not be blinded by twinkling lights from the stars; that the common is all persuasive and that the common man will always have the last word as he has the power of the social media on its side.

Despite the fact that today Sushant is a household name in India and amongst Indians abroad, prior to his death he did not have as many fans as he has now. Some of his movies like MS Dhoni: An Untold Story, Raabta etc had done well at the box office, yet he had not garnered enough fans which would equate his stature to that of Bollywood actors like Salman Khan or Shahrukh Khan or the likes.

But his death has elevated him to a stature much higher than them, or even the actors of the Raj Kapoor era. Sorry, I am refraining myself from calling the actors as stars, as I feel stardom has to be earned and does not flow in genes or artificially created by fudging up figures, or by bribing the media to write about them and denigrate others so they appear shinier.

So, what really happened that a small-town boy, a struggling actor who had yet to be cast in a so-called big budget productions house, overnight became a star and earned the stature no other Bollywood actor has earned before? He achieved in death what he could not achieve in life and struggled to reach this destination.

Suspicious Death or a Suicide

Analyzing the events of the last two months since June 14, 2020, the date of his unnatural death, only the attitude of Mumbai Police bent upon turning Sushant’s suspicious death into a suicide, raised eyebrows. As the word got out with the Mumbai Police claiming that Sushant had committed suicide, some people in the industry raised doubts about this conclusion, without as much as conducting basic investigation or gathering enough evidence as no suicide note was found.

Actress Kangana Ranout raised one little doubt in people’s mind, pointing the needle of suspicion to nepotism in the industry, resulting in depression amongst the talented young actors struggling to make their mark in the industry. She had blown the bugle. Millions heard and followed.

Social media reaction was fast. Overnight, every other person, who had even a little knowledge of the working of the insides of the industry or knew Sushant every little way, had turned into a journalist and started their own investigation. Important evidences proving how Mumbai Police had deliberately botched the investigation or trying to cover the misdeeds of the powerful, was now in public domain.

Campaign for investigation be turned over to CBI, began by Sushant’s fans and the powerful people like Subramaniam Swamy, Member of Parliament, Shekhar Suman and others too joined in to ensure justice for Sushant, as all evidences pointing towards a well-planned murder and not a suicide. Last week, Supreme Court heard the request and ordered CBI to take over the case, thus proving that Indians are not ready to tolerate injustice in any form.

Sushant’s Fans fight for Justice

Questioned were raised on how, could Sushant’s case garner so much support calling for justice for the actor. His fans came up with lots of hashtags like #justiceforSushant. #CBI for Sushant, #itsasunshineboy, #justiceforSushant2020, #boycottbollywood, #boycottbollywoodfans, #changeindia etc.

There are thousand others, all gathered together to fight for justice for Sushant. Because Sushant was known to be an honest, hardworking, intelligent person who wrote and fulfilled his dreams, his fans were not ready to believe that someone as lettered like him could resort to killing himself, without leaving a suicide note.

Someone with a positive outlook in life as Sushant, who had always encouraged others around him to dream big and run after their dreams, chase them till they achieve them and not run away from them. Could take his own life. A well read, cultured and educated person like Sushant who had unfulfilled dreams, could take the suicidal path, certainly was unacceptable to the thinking common man.

Mumbai Police theories debunked

What Mumbai Police could not unearth, the media and the common man did, yet the Mumbai Police tried to stick to its theory of suicide as a result of depression. It is very evident that Sushant’s case is linked with Disha’s unnatural death, which was never investigated by police.

Disha was Sushant’s manager who was thrown (or fell??) from the 14th floor of her residence and her body was reportedly nude when it was found. Yet, the Mumbai Police did not find anything suspicious worth investigating!

And so was Jia Khan’s mysterious death, which was once again transferred to CBI after the insistence of the family, as the Mumbai Police refused to investigate.

Mystery around Sushant’s Death

The common man has been able to debunk many of Mumbai Police’s theories, for example, Sushant was not suffering from depression despite Rhea Chakravarty feeding him medicines like Qutipin, pushing him towards suicide; the fan from which Sushant supposedly hanged himself, does not show any dents or tilts as a result of a 75 kilo man hanging under it; Sushant’s case cannot be investigated in isolation from Disha’s case; there was no key maker as alleged by Sushant’s friend Sidharth Pithani who had broken Sushant’s door; Sushant wrote a diary, pages of which were torn apart, as per Forensic experts; Mumbai Police had not registered any FIR to initiate investigation into his unnatural death nor in the case of Disha Salian.

Sushant’s family had warned the Mumbai Police about Sushant’s life being in danger way back in February this year but they never took ay action; Rhea’s call records indicate she made more calls to her father Inderjeet Chakravarty and her brother than she did to her alleged boy-friend Sushant; the common factor between Sushant and Disha case was that CCTV cameras in both their buildings were not working just about the same time of their demise which cannot be a coincidence, thus indicating the common modus operandi.

There are many more theories put forward by Mumbai Police, which have now all been lampooned by the media and SSR fans. Undoubtedly, mockery of justice was going on in Maharashtra which SSR fans refused to take lying down.

Depression theory behind Deaths in Indian Showbizz Industry

Why is it that depression as a cause of suicide, has always been easy to sell in the Bollywood industry? Though there may be some deaths as a result of suicide, but most importantly what pushes them to take their own lives.

After Sushant, actors like Sameer Sharma and Anupma Pathak, were found dead in mysterious circumstances, with no suicide notes left behind. Once again, with no suicide notes, their deaths can be nothing but suspicious.

The trend started by Guru Dutt in 1964, Divya Bharti in 1993, Vijay Lakshmi or Silk Smitha as she was known in 1996, Praveen Babi in 2005, Kunal Singh 2008, Santosh Jogi in 2010, Jia Khan in 2013, Sai Prashanth in 2016, Sridevi in 2018, Kushal Punjabi in December 2019, Preksha Mehta in 2020, Disha Salian and many others which may have gone unnoticed and not probed, continues. Now we know how Mumbai Police terms all similar deaths as suicides due to depression. All these deaths were of suspicious nature but never investigated as per protocol.

Jia Khan’s mother, just like Sushant’s fans, refused to believe that her daughter committed suicide. She has time and again complained that her daughter was murdered and then hanged to make it appear like a suicide, yet another similar modus operandi that ironically and unbelievingly, did not raise any suspicion in the mind of investigators of Sushant’s case.

The common man was able to point out the similarity in the cases, but not Mumabi Police is difficult to digest. Despite pointing fingers at Sooraj Pancholi, yesteryear action Aditya Pancholi’s son, the Jia Khan’s case is trying to breathe in the realms of Indian courts. Of course, with crucial time and evidence lost in Mumbai Police’s attempts to turn the case into a suicide, it certainly is an uphill task for Jia’s family to prove Sooraj’s involvement.

Jia’s mother Rabbiya a British national and lawyer reportedly received anonymous death threats to stop pursuing the murder. She was warned to think about her two other daughters. Not many families, whose children suffer similar fate have the means or are as well connected as Sushant’s family to ensure justice for their star struck kids.

Despite Jia’s case being handed over to CBI, nothing has come of it as during transferring and for the days Mumbai Police spent in destroying evidence, deleting files and diverting the needle of suspicion, important evidence was lost.

The Indian Film Industry, which is among the oldest in the world, and a dream project of Dadasaheb Phalke, is now more than a century old has and grown to an industry, which produces more movies than Hollywood, though its quality always has remained questionable.

According to an Australian Actors’ Wellbeing Study conducted in 2015, actors or those associated with art, are twice more likely as the general population to experience depression. For some, it is the work-related pressures like low income, job insecurity, for others it is the stress to perform to the audience and getting into the character, longer after the film is over.

Other times actors are unable to let go of emotions long after the movie is over, carrying their roles on to their lives. Ironically, social media has it that the big wigs of Bollywood and their unskilled children, if feel threatened by the talent of the newbies from small towns like Sushant, ensure they either disappear into depression by taking away any project they are offered or made to disappear by planting drugs into their lives.

Invincibility factor

Most Bollywood films thrive on the invincibility of the heroes. Is that portrayal carried on into their everyday lives too? Mark Seton, a performing arts scholar said during the 2015 study, “Playing a character is a complex process that cannot be separated from the life of the actor. Getting into character is not just as simple as “putting on” or “taking off” a role.”

Reports of Salman Khan, Karan Johar, Mahesh Bhatt and others ganging up against Sushant, to the verge of pushing him into depression (not suicide), may be an extension of their on-screen portrayal of ever-green tough heroes who always get what they want.

Some actresses like Kangana Ranaut, Pooja Misra, Anu Aggrawal (of Ashiqui fame), Simi Grewal and many others have three names responsible for ruining their career, in common. These are Salman Khan, Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar. Once Salman’s brother Arbaaz had joked on Kapil Sharma Show that there was no need for Salman Khan to get married. “He gets what he wants, when he wants anyways.”

It was a sick statement with his father Salim Khan, producer and screenwriter, laughing on the stage with his lil boys. Not only Salman Khan but also the audience including Kapil Sharma had rolled on the floor with laughter. That was the last Kapil Sharma show I watched.

Though Sushant’s fans are today relieved that the case is out of Mumbai Police’s hands, we still have to gauge how CBI can investigate on the basis of evidence, which has been destroyed by the latter. Or fake evidence may have been planted to make it appear like a suicide.

CBI also investigated Jia Khan’s case after Mumbai Police botched it up really well as per reports and got nowhere. Her murderers are still out somewhere and so are Sushant’s. With the Enforcement Directorate getting involved and based on documentation, charges of money laundering can be laid against Rhea Chakravarty, the one-time girl friend of Sushant Singh. But murder! It would need a lot of evidence to prove in the court. Fans of SSR will have to remain vigilant at all times to ensure that this case too doesn’t get lost in the bungling of transfers.

(Dr Neelam Batra-Verma is the Author of 1971: A War Story)

(The views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion, beliefs and view point of the owners of

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