Indian National Award-winning actress Kangana Ranaut has questioned the powerful forces in Hindi cinema who did not appreciate Sushant Singh Rajput’s body of work during his lifetime.
Ranaut has long criticised the industry and raised hackles when in 2017 she labelled top Bollywood producer Karan Johar as a flag-bearer of nepotism in Bollywood.
Director Shekhar Kapur added to Ranaut’s narrative, tweeting that “the people who let you down” were responsible for his death.
Rajput, 34, was found dead in his home in Mumbai.
“Although he has acted in some amazing films like ‘Kai Po Che!’ and ‘Chhichore’, why wasn’t he given any awards? If a wasteful film like ‘Gully Boy’ could win so many awards, why couldn’t he be given any for the wonderful films he worked in?” Ranaut said in a video. “He was treated like a leftover. Read all his interviews and he is begging you to see his film because he fears being outed in this industry.”
The actress believes that Rajput was treated shabbily as he was an outsider and didn’t have a powerful godfather protecting his interests.
Top producer Johar and actors such as Alia Bhatt have been called out for their shallow display of sympathy.
Director Shekhar Kapur, who was due to work with Rajput on his project ‘Paani’ that eventually got shelved, blamed those industry insiders for alienating the actor. He did not name names, but was happy to shame them.
“I knew the pain you were going through. I knew the story of the people that let you down so bad that you would weep on my shoulder. I wish I was around the last 6 months. I wish you had reached out to me. What happened to you was their Karma. Not yours,” Kapur tweeted.
Another director Anubhav Sinha also tweeted that the ‘Bollywood privilege club’ should take a hard look at themselves.
The dominant narrative is that Rajput was going through a tough phase professionally and that industry insiders were unofficially boycotting him. Big production houses were also hostile towards the actor when his film ‘Drive’ failed to take off.
Bollywood is a notoriously clannish industry, which is hostile to outsiders. Rajput, like Ranaut, was a self-made star.
“Sushant started to believe in all those voices that questioned his self worth as an actor,” said Ranaut. She also called out journalists who had tainted the actor’s image with news articles about his alleged addiction.
“Sanjay Dutt’s addiction is considered cute, but you write baseless articles that are meant to hurt Sushant about his so-called addictions,” said Ranaut.
Ever since news of Rajput’s death emerged, the hashtag #boycottkaranjohar has been trending on Twitter.
Johar is known for backing talents who are born to famous parents and creative gangs in Bollywood that are difficult for outsiders to break into.