“His rise in the world of entertainment inspired many, and he leaves behind several memorable performances,” Mr. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, wrote.
The actor Sushant Singh Rajput died at the age of 34 in Bandra, Mumbai by suiciding. Fans around the country have grieved his loss greatly and paid their respects. However, certain others are prolonging matters in extremist ways. After Sushant’s death, a series of major events occurred wherein nepotism was highly condemned and actors whose parents belong in the industry have been facing major hatred.
“She (Rhea Chakroborty) was accused of everything from murder to stealing huge amounts of money,” Karuna Nundy, a Delhi-based human rights lawyer, told the Deutsche Welle German news broadcaster. “Now she has been accused of being part of a drug syndicate because she allegedly bought some marijuana.”
The Indian media has refused to accept the possibility that Sushant’s mental illness is the cause of his suicide. While his family has accused his former girlfriend of practicing witchcraft and stealing money, the public has accused her of forcing Sushant to consume drugs. None of these allegations have been confirmed, yet Rhea Chakroborty has been facing months in prison and was interrogated several times. Activists highlight the toxic misogyny regarding mental illness in India wherein India is ready to accept the allegation of black magic as a cause, and not depression.
After Rhea provided information on actors with drug abuse, the Bollywood drug scandal has become a topic of great interest, and several actresses have been interrogated. Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh – have also been summoned by the NCB. In a Whatsapp chat between herself and her manager, Deepika Padukone, a well-known Bollywood actress, allegedly requested for drugs. Padukone, 34, arrived at the Narcotics Control Board’s (NCB) office in Mumbai on Saturday after receiving a summons earlier this week. The CBI has not discovered drugs on the part of Deepika, but have shown that Deepika is suffering from a long-lasting fight with depression.
In India, the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 reveals that nearly 15% Indian adults need active intervention for one or more mental health issues and one in 20 Indians suffers from depression. It is estimated that in 2012, India had over 258,000 suicides, with the age-group of 15-49 years being most affected.
Thus, while the death of Sushant is a grievous and devastating matter, the Indian public must start to concentrate efforts on more important issues and embrace the impact of mental illness.