The recent crimes in showbiz involving Meenakshi Thapa (pictured) and Simran Sood and the twist involving Anuj Tikku have raised questions over what makes Bollywood wannabes take such extreme steps.
According to industry insiders, the urge to become the next big thing and the greed to earn more money compel them to commit such gruesome crimes.
Aspiring model Thapa's murder adds weight to the factors pointed out by showbiz insiders.
Thapa, who was shooting for Madhur Bhandarkar's Heroine, was brutally murdered by junior artists Amit Jaiswal and Preeti Surin. Thapa is said to have told them that she belonged to a rich family. In a bid to earn easy money, Surin and Jaiswal decided to abduct her and later killed her. Thapa did small roles in films like 404.
'Struggling actors are exploited'
"Struggling actors are exploited on an everyday basis. It is the pressure of money. When there is no hope, such things do happen," filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri told IANS.
"I feel whatever is happening is very bad. People who come from small towns have no idea how the industry functions. They have to pursue their dreams and at the same time they have to survive in a city like Mumbai. After doing one or two films, when they don't get work and they can't even go back home they are compelled to do such things."
Bollywood filmmaker Priyadarshan believes that Bollywood hopefuls who don't belong to the industry are easy targets. "Such crimes are often committed on strugglers who are not from Mumbai — it doesn't happen to kids who come from Bollywood families because they know a lot more of what's happening around them," said Priyadarshan in an interview with tabloid!.
Aspiring model-actress Sood was accused of kidnapping filmmaker Karan Kakkad. Sood, along with former associates of gangster Santosh Shetty, allegedly abducted Kakkad last month and killed him.
Accused of killing father
Actor Anuj Tikku, who was seen in small roles in films like Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Rann, was initially accused of killing his father Arunkumar Tikku. According to the police, Tikku is mentally disturbed and was receiving treatment at a hospital in Jaipur for the past four to five years and his father disapproved of him staying alone. The father was even said to be against his wild lifestyle.
It later emerged that mobster Vijay Palande was the elder Tikku's killer and zeroed in on him after the son boasted he had enormous properties in Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai.
"Nobody comes here to make money, everybody wants to be famous. Pressure of money comes once the question of survival comes. After doing one film they have to match the lifestyle of the others. They have to buy a car, have a driver, go partying, wear nice clothes and many get stuck in this pressure," said Agnihotri.
Director Sujoy Ghosh says it is important for such people not to be aggressive with their passion.
"One needs to get practical and not be aggressive with their passion. You have to be practical about life when you realise nothing is happening; you have to move on," said Ghosh.
"I believe there is a lot of pressure with whatever dreams they are willing to pursue. I myself have gone through this some time back. It all depends on how maturely you handle the situation. But it is really sad when we hear some horrifying stories. I don't know what's the solution for this. It is a lesson to be learnt," he added.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt says he feels sad when youngsters choose the wrong path to fulfil their dreams.
"Strugglers are in their dream space. They come here with lots of dream and at times they choose the wrong path which is heartbreaking. It is not easy to become somebody."