The Hindi film fraternity and its members have been making headlines for a variety of reasons these days, and not all of those reasons have something strictly to do with work or upcoming releases. After actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother were linked to the Bollywood drug cartel in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, a lot of people on social media have branded almost the entire industry as dubious when it comes to drugs. However, quite a few artistes feel that this is just an attempt by outside forces to destroy the reputation of Bollywood and whatever ‘facts’ have come out in the Sushant death case is not representative of the whole entertainment industry.
Things specially took a turn when actor and BJP member Ravi Kishan on Monday stated in Lok Sabha that ‘several people’ of Bollywood are involved in the drug business and said, “Drug addiction is in the film industry too. Several people have been apprehended. The NCB has been doing very good work. I urge the central government to take strict action against the culprits soon.”
However, actor and Member of Parliament (MP) Jaya Bachchan was not impressed and on Tuesday mentioned in the Zero Hour of Rajya Sabha that a few people are adamant on biting the hand that feeds them. She said, “Just because of a few people, you cannot tarnish the whole industry… I was really embarrassed and ashamed that yesterday (Monday) one of our members in the Lok Sabha, who is from the industry, spoke against the film industry. Jis thaali mein khaate hain usi mein chhed karte hain (they are biting the hand that feeds them).”
“People who have made a name in this industry have called it a gutter. I completely disagree and I really disassociate. At a time when the financial situation is in a depressing state and employment rate at the worst levels, in order to divert the attention of people, we are being flogged on social media and there is no support from the government,” she added.
Jaya Bachchan further urged the government to lend a helping hand to the Hindi film industry as they need their support in this crisis. She said, “I hope the government tells these people who have made their earning, name and fame in this industry to stop using such language. There are people in the entertainment industry who are some of the highest taxpayers (in the country). They are still being harassed. I think the government must stand by the entertainment industry because it always comes forward to help the government in whatever good work it takes up… If there is a national calamity, they come forward, they give money and their services.”
कौन सी थाली दी है जया जी और उनकी इंडस्ट्री ने? एक थाली मिली थी जिसमें दो मिनट के रोल आइटम नम्बर्ज़ और एक रोमांटिक सीन मिलता था वो भी हेरो के साथ सोने के बाद,मैंने इस इंडस्ट्री को फ़ेमिनिज़म सीखाया,थाली देश भक्ति नारीप्रधान फ़िल्मों से सजाई,यह मेरी अपनी थाली है जया जी आपकी नहीं। https://t.co/lPo9X4hRZX
— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) September 16, 2020
While numerous colleagues of Jaya (Anubhav Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Sonam Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani and others) supported her statement, her comments did not sit well with Kangana Ranaut, who asked the former in a tweet whether her statements would have remained the same had her son Abhishek or daughter Shweta been bullied, harassed and drugged. She tweeted, “Jaya ji would you say the same thing if in my place it was your daughter Shweta beaten, drugged and molested as a teenager, would you say the same thing if Abhishek complained about bullying and harassment constantly and found hanging one day? Show compassion for us also.”
In yet another remark on Twitter, Kangana asked Bachchan which ‘thaali’ was she referring to — “the one in which a two-minute role, item numbers and a romantic scene were offered and that too only after sleeping with the hero.” The actor further claimed that she was the one who taught the true meaning of feminism to Bollywood and has achieved whatever she has achieved on her own terms.
Kangana Ranaut’s comment on Jaya Bachchan’s statement attracted sharp criticism from her former co-star Swara Bhasker who asked her to be respectful towards an elder. Swara wrote that Kangana’s comments were ‘sickening’ and ‘shameful.’ Filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava also called out Kangana and tweeted that she (Kangana) is not being a feminist by abusing an artiste who has been a trailblazer in Bollywood.
Meanwhile, Ravi Kishan also reacted to Jaya Bachchan’s statement and said that he had expected some amount of support from his senior in the entertainment business and added that he had not blacklisted the entire industry, but had mentioned that only a few people are involved in the drug cartel. On the other hand, BJP’s Jaya Prada supported Kishan and claimed that Jaya is politicising the issue.