After late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty revealed that Sushant had been taking drugs for a long time before their relationship started, his death case has now taken a new twist.
Putting a spotlight on the dark reality of the entertainment world shrouded in the mystery of drug mafias and their illegal operations in Bollywood, many celebs are unhesitatingly coming out to talk about it.
Actress Kangana Ranaut left many people stunned, saying that she was sedated by her mentor without her knowledge when she was a minor, during the initial stage of her career, and how drug mafias operate in showbiz among many A-list actors.
In no time, the hashstag #DrugMafiaOfBollywood started making a lot of noise on Twitter and the drug culture in Bollywood became the talk of the town, bringing many celebs onto the radar of the Narcotics Control Bureau.
I was still a minor my mentor turned tormentor used to spike my drinks and sedate me to prevent me from going to cops, when I became successful and got entry in to the most famous film parties I was exposed to the most shocking and sinister world and drugs,debauchery and mafia.— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) August 26, 2020
What Kangana shared was just the tip of the iceberg.
Many other celebrities in the past, who have also experienced drug abuse, have openly talked about it in the media.
Be it actors Sanjay Dutt, Fardeen Khan, Prateik Babbar, or rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh, and V.J. Nikhil Chinapa, some of them have also been to rehabilitation centres to get over it.
Talking to Sputnik, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, who has been in the industry for over 15 years, shared that Bollywood and drugs have been deeply connected for ages and the matter has only become murkier.
“Initially it was just about marijuana, also locally known as Bhang, a herbal drug and commonly consumed by a lot of people. Since it is easily available in north India, there is no mafia involved in it”, he said.
“Smoking up joints became more popular and was [more] normalised than smoking tobacco. Then came chemical drugs which are lethal and supplied by drug mafias who also control the stars, finance films, and also dictate who to cast in it”.
“Today, it has reached a stage where if you aren’t a part of the drug mafia, you aren’t part of Bollywood. However, some people from the industry and I refuse to be a part of such groups”, he added.
To fit into the entertainment world, many aspiring, young, talented actors get caught in the web of drug addiction. Agnihotri added, “Actors are introduced by successful people and to fit in the industry, they start going to Bollywood parties and take drugs. When it becomes an addiction, they get exploited”.
It’s not just in Bollywood…
The roots of drug abuse have spread deeply into the fashion industry as well.
When model-turned-actress Bidita Bag, who shot to fame with her movie "Babumoshai Bandookbaaz", shifted her base to Mumbai (Maharashtra state) from Kolkata (West Bengal state) to make a career in the entertainment world, she came across many models taking drugs.
“It is quite common in the entertainment world but that doesn’t mean everyone is into drugs”, she said.
“There are two groups - those who are health-conscious and have green tea, black coffee and do yoga and the others who are into drinking alcohol, and having drugs. I made a conscious decision to not be a part of the latter. Those trying to be cool take drugs. Some would also consume it to better their performance in front of the camera”, Bidita told Sputnik.
Writer-director Jyoti Kapur Das, who has made two award-winning short films, Chutney and PlusMinus, took to Twitter to reply to her followers that to become successful, one doesn’t have to do drugs.
Ummmmm... I've won two @filmfare awards for two of my short films. As writer-director. And it's a matter of time before my feature films are out. So I don't agree that I can't be successful if I don't do drugs or hang out with 'big celebs'. 🙄🙏🏻— Jyoti Kapur Das (@jkd18) August 27, 2020
The films have always been a mirror to reality. Many filmmakers have also revealed a glimpse of what happens behind closed doors at Bollywood house parties.
The most glaring example of this was actor Shahid Kapoor-starrer movie “Udta Punjab” that showcased the drug menace in India's music industry.
Noted filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar also mirrored the reality of the drug culture through his film “Fashion”, starring actress Kangana Ranaut, which revolved around the fashion industry, and actress Kareena Kapoor Khan-starrer “Heroine”, which showcased the rise and fall of an aspiring actor.
“It has become rampant since the last 20 years and we all know about such parties. With the social media uproar around Sushant’s death case connected to narcotics, the buzz isn't going to die down soon this time”, Bollywood film critic and trade analyst Joginder Tuteja told Sputnik.
One of the reasons for celebs rampantly using drugs is peer pressure.
Dr Samir Parikh, a leading psychiatrist, pointed out to Sputnik, “You feel peer pressure to prove yourself that you’re a part of a group or to get more noticed”.
“If someone takes a substance, it could be to feel light, cheerful or have a sound sleep and also get over a bad day or phase in your life. But once the feel-good factor hits you, you want to do more and it becomes a vicious cycle”.
“It also depends on what kind of drugs you take, maybe cocaine, cannabis, MDMA, or LSD. Eventually, it all comes down to the individual and where you draw the line and how you utilise your own genuine support system to do the work that you really want to”, Dr Parikh added.