Sushant Singh Rajput death continues to rattle India
Sushant Singh Rajput death continues to rattle India Image Credit: Gulf News archive

The death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput currently being investigated by Mumbai police took a turn on Monday when the Bandra police received his viscera report, which showed no signs of poisoning.

Senior police sources say on the basis of the investigation so far there is no evidence of foul play.

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However, Mumbai police also recorded the statement of director Mahesh Bhatt and have asked actor Kangana Ranaut to record her statement. Ranaut has made serious allegations about Rajput’s death and kicked off a debate on Bollywood nepotistic insiders making outsiders suffer. Ranaut has alleged that a “gang of Bollywood insiders” virtually drove Rajput to commit suicide.

Rajput’s death at 34 has become a veritable political football game with various political parties latching on and demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry. Yesterday Parth Pawar, son of Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, met Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, making a request to transfer the case to the CBI.

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Mumbai police have already recorded the statements of Rajput’s partners, including actors Anita Lokhande and Rhea Chakraborty. Noted director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has also given his statement about the films, including Ram Leela and Padmavati that he had offered Rajput.

The theory offered by those who believe that Rajput was driven to suicide is that he was not allowed to act in these films by a production company, which had made him sign a stringent contract. However, the same production house allowed actor Ranveer Singh, who had an identical contract, to work with Bhansali.

Ranaut says Rajput was neither compensated financially nor did the movie offered to him - Shekhar Kapoor’s Paani - ever materialise.

Director Karan Johar, who repeatedly features in Ranaut’s allegations will along with the chief operating officer of his production company Dharma, Apoorva Mehta, are to be interrogated by police today. Police want them to share the terms of the film Drive that Rajput did for them and how it went to a straight OTT release rather than the planned theatrical release.

Unanswered questions

So what does all this mean for the Rajput investigation?

So many questions still remain unanswered and many respected artists such as music director A.R. Rahman have flagged the struggle that outsiders have to make to get a break in Bollywood.

Rajput had changed his cell phone number nearly 50 times over the course of three months. Gulf news has exclusive information that he was talking to a huge publishing house company about writing a book. A senior editor from the publisher had gone to Mumbai thrice to meet Rajput and discuss the proposed book. Despite three meetings at Rajput’s home the book did not get off the drawing board.

What did Rajput want to write about?

This is just another additional unanswered question.

Mahesh Bhatt has claimed that he met Rajput just twice and did not offer him any films. Bhatt also told Mumbai police that his production house only worked with newcomers.

The two biggest questions remain. Was Rajput someone who was suffering from mental health issues who committed suicide? Or is there more to his death and a possible cover up involving the biggest names in Bollywood? The trouble is that Rajput’s death is getting buried under an avalanche of conspiracy theories.

As shocked and upset Rajput fans trend justiceforSushant on social media and attack the likes of Johar, the Bhatt family and other Bollywood insiders, the probe has to be conclusive. India’s media has not covered itself with glory either, publishing fake accounts of Rajput’s psychiatrist and then pulling them down after the outrage.

Bollywood is an extremely tough industry to break into and Rajput with his belief in his talent and none of the sycophancy, which is a film industry requirement, found it a tough journey. Rajput like most artists was extremely sensitive and planted blind items about him cut him to the quick, his family has told Mumbai police. Even Karan Johar’s show Koffee with Karan where some actors mocked him in a lighthearted way hurt him, said his family.

From writers to actors, everybody has a theory about what drove Rajput to death. The insiders making life miserable for outsiders is currently being avidly pursued. But will we ever have a conclusive answer? The jury is out.

Swati Chaturvedi, Special to Gulf News-1592296808900