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How Bollywood's 'privilege club' failed Sushant Singh Rajput

Sushant Singh Rajput's suicide has sparked off a conversation around the ruthless ways of Bollywood's power camps -- especially for young aspirants who come to realise their dreams as 'outsiders' from all over India, with no bloodline to flaunt.

Updated Jun 16, 2020 00:36 AM

How Bollywood's 'privilege club' failed Sushant Singh Rajput

The general sense that the film and television industry does not care for its own -- unless you are an offspring of the industry - is not new. It was gaining ground over the past decade or so. Only, the subject started being widely discussed after actress Kangana Ranaut spoke of it a while back, ironically on "Koffee With Karan", the chat show hosted by Karan Johar, often accused of being the grand dad of nepotism in Bollywood for his penchant at casting star kids in projects that prop their budding careers.

Sushant's popularity was exceptional, in this context. He arrived from Bihar forsaking a promising career in engineering, had his brief struggle as a back-up dancer and on TV, before quickly entering the list of exciting, new-gen Bollywood stars. His brief Bollywood career of six years, starting from the urban multiplex hit "Kai Po Che" in 2013, to his final release, last year's bumper hit "Chhichhore", has a healthy flow of box office successes, which also established him as a credible actor.

So then, why did films things to a pass that whispers doing the rounds in the industry and on social media began suggesting all the powerful banners of Bollywood had ‘boycotted' him?

Kangana, for one, seems convinced that Sushant's deserving films and work were never acknowledged, particularly at the award ceremonies. She also snubs the argument that he committed suicide because of depression, owing to a ‘weak mind'.

"How can his mind be weak? If you look at his last few posts, he is clearly saying, literally begging, 'Watch my films. I have no Godfather. I will be taken out of the industry'. In his interviews, he had expressed why the industry wasn't accepting him. So is there no foundation of this incident? He never got acknowledgement for his films, no awards for his films like 'Kedarnath', 'Chhichhore' and 'MS Dhoni: The Untold Story'. Films like 'Gully Boy' got all the awards," Kangana said in a video message on Monday, a day after Sushant was found hanging at his Bandra residence.

The theory finds resonance in the words of politician Sanjay Nirupam, whose tweet says Sushant lost seven films, which he had signed, even after the success of "Chhichhore".

"He lost the films in just six months. Why? The film industry's ruthlessness works on a very different level. And that ruthlessness took the life of one talented person," Nirupam posted.

The point becomes clear when one looks at Sushant's journey from small screen to big screen.

Leaving the world of engineering, Sushant danced his way into showbiz as a background dancer, and got his acting break as the main actor's brother in the TV show "Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil". It was his second role, in the 2009 soap "Pavitra Rishta" that got him fame. As Manav Deshmukh in the Ekta Kapoor show, he became a household name.

Which ensured his initial foray into Bollywood, of course, He was tagged a rising star after "Kai Po Che!" in 2013, and went on to prove his worth with every role he did -- from "M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story" and "Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!" to "Kedarnath" and "Chhichhore".

From "Kai Po Che'' in 2013 to "Chhichhore" in 2019, Sushant had nine big screen releases (discounting the Netflix movie "Drive). Of these four -- "Kai Po Che", ‘PK", M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story" and "Chhichhore" -- are outright hits, which means he had a success rate of 50 per cent, which is more than many contemporary male stars.

In short, he had the hits coming in regularly. Even in the films that fared below box-office expectations --"Detective Byomkesh Bakshi", "Shudh Desi Romance", "Sonchiriya" and "Raabta" -- his acting was universally acclaimed as faultless.

So, why did he lose out on projects?

According to hearsay, over the past few years, Sushant was replaced in several big banner films including Sanjay Bhansali's "Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela" and Aditya Chopra's "Befikre". (Incidentally, his replacement in both films, Ranveer Singh -- although a self-made superstar and an undeniable talent -- is related to the Anil Kapoor clan. He is Sonam Kapoor's cousin.)

However, Sushant never revealed any sign of depression owing to the rejections. If he faced difficulties being an outsider, he had learnt to take it in his stride. In an interview Sushant gave to IANS a while back, he conceded that industry insiders get "slightly more room" but he insisted it did not matter.

"Yeah, it does get very difficult. It is difficult for everybody because we have heard about some very successful outsiders' stories too, and unfortunately not-so-very successful insiders' stories. So, in the long run, it doesn't matter, but for a short period of time. The insiders are given slightly more room to actually downplay their failures and magnify their success," Sushant had told IANS.

Things, though, have systematically worsened since that

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by FreshersLIVE.Publisher : IANS-Media