Bollywood is awash in drugs. This is not hyperbole, dear readers, but the grim reality as superstar Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, 23, was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for possession and consumption of banned class A substances, including cocaine.
Ironically, Khan on his Instagram was posing with a ball of snow in his hands and had captioned it “narcos”.
Last time around it was actor Sushant Singh who allegedly committed suicide and his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty who was accused of being an alleged drug supplier.
The NCB had then issued notices and interrogated movie stars Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Rakul Preet Singh.
Indian “news channels” sensationalised the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and invaded the privacy of the stars to the extent of putting their private WhatsApp chats on air.
Despite, the media prurience, this was not even the tip of the iceberg as a senior NCB official speaking to me exclusive for Gulf News said.
Common as candy
The official made three key points — Drugs are as common as candy in Bollywood with cocaine and ecstasy and MDMA being the drug of choice. There is no age barrier to the consumption of drugs. Some actors in their 70s, including some superstars, continue drug habits which date back decades.
At a few Bollywood parties, drugs are circulated like snacks and are considered essential to party all night and then the after party and shooting the next day. Actors consume “uppers” to be able to work and party and “downers” to ensure rest.
Children of superstars who have already become superstars on social media as the legatees of their families and have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths, do drugs and are blasé about them is the second point he made. To these young adults on the NCB’ radar, banned drugs are just part of their lives as children of extremely successful parents.
Money is not an issue for them and Mumbai drug dealers flock to them as they have unlimited funds for drug habits. The officials said that a select flock of Gen next superstar kids and children of billionaires ensure that whether they are in India or abroad drugs are only a phone call away. The drug dealers contact list in their phones reads like a who’s who of Bollywood.
A date with drugs
The third point, NCB sources reveal, is that drugs are not new in Bollywood and have existed since the 1960s and unlike most Indian parents, Bollywood superstar parents, who are part of the lifestyle, don’t think it a big deal if their children adopt the same lifestyle.
While Shahrukh Khan will be devastated at what his son is going through with the awful social media posting and the police custody of a day, most of Bollywood only fears exposure of their drug dealings.
The NCB has found that in this particular case, an actor who is fairly unsuccessful but, on friendly terms with the superstars is the main front of the drug cartel. Because he is trusted, he has total access which he uses to sell drugs. His partner and her brother are also part of the same business.
Blasé about banned substances
Some Bollywood actors are so blasé about drugs that they do shoots at parties and release videos which mimic the heroin films of the 1990s. A superstar is famous for not doing his celebrated “action scenes” till he has had his “coke” with the entire film unit being privy to it. A high energy actor also has drugs to thank for his outlandish antics which ensure a lot of publicity.
So what next for Bollywood on the drugs front? An important point needs to be emphasised: those actors who do drugs are consumers, not dealers of drugs and they often become the fall guys because they are well known faces.
The biggest drug recovery happened in a Gujarat port recently — 3000 kilos of heroin worth ₹20,000 crores. This is the frightening battle India is fighting.