Afterlife-The Sushant Singh Rajput Story
Sushant Singh Rajput: Best known for blockbusters like MS Dhoni, Kedarnath, Sonchiriya, was a dynamic actor. Today, one year after his sudden death, hashtags demanding justice for SSR remain active. Some by genuine fans, other trends to distract and divert. Media gave record screen time to this case may be more than covid, economy and opposition combined. Now, after exactly one year, we know how Justice for Sushant became Justice for Kangana. Then Justice for Republic and Arnab Goswami.
In this post, let’s see how some people converted tragedy into opportunity. Anchors boosted TRP. Underperforming actresses vented personal anger. It felt like they deliberately tried to take advantage of deceased Sushant. Who benefited most from Justice for SSR campaign? At whose expense? Let’s see.
Sushant: The shocking News
Last year, when Corona was at its peak, the premature demise of Sushant on June 14 took everyone by surprise. It was too hard to handle. At a time when the plight of migrants was already a shocker… However, news anchors were playing Antakshari as if they had nothing else to do. Sushant’s early departure was heartbreaking. Everyone thought at first that this painful step was an after-effect of lockdown. Because, at the time, suicide was the leading cause of non-covid deaths. Under what circumstances did talent like Sushant break down?
Importance of Mental Health
This was not the first time that a celebrity had committed suicide. Like, Jiah Khan and Pratyusha Banerjee. But this case was quite a shocker. Sushant was an outsider who made his mark in Bollywood, otherwise infamous for nepotism. Naturally, the news became a talking point throughout the country. As a matter of fact, Sushant was the most searched celebrity in 2020 leaving behind the Prime Minister himself.
No doubt we are a country that loves cricket and Bollywood. Here, a picture of Taimur is more in demand than the accountability of politicians. Nobody thought that the sudden passing away of Sushant would take the country by storm. Credit where due: In the beginning, mental health and its importance were talked about. News channels took a break from Hindu-Muslim and invited psychologists for discussion. We have with us a famous psychiatrist today.
I feel that mental health services should be accessible to everyone News channels where at least not spreading hate and talking about mental health. It was a big surprise. Many who are taught: Boys don’t cry, realized that heroes too can break down. But the inevitable was to come.
Bollywood Mafia & The Nepotism Angle
Soon, nepotism was mixed in with the sad news and it was claimed that Sushant took the step because he was fed up with nepotism. In fact, few days after the headline, searches for ‘nepotism in Bollywood’ spiked by 1993%. People blamed Khans, Kapoors, and Johar for harassing Sushant. Do directors prefer launching star kids Do large production houses have a monopoly?
It is tried best that award functions give awards to star kids One month after his demise, the story panned out like this: Sushant took the step because of mental pressure and that because of nepotism and cronyism. He was pleading with fans to go watch his movies. Now when nepotism was being talked about how could Kangana miss her chance? It’d be like India chasing a big total and Kohli missing out.
On 18 July, Kangana added fuel to fire in a TV interview. Today, those fans who accepted her word verbatim, are saying that CBI is still investigating. In the interview one party got TRP and the other got the spotlight.
Deep Strings Attached or Controversies?
From 19th July to 31st July the case took a drastic turn. While Sushant’s family lodged FIR against Rhea, Sushant’s girlfriend at the time, she demanded a CBI probe. Republic went on to do sting after sting. Every July debate of Republic was like a new episode of a crime thriller. New sting, a new angle, new conspiracy, new lie every day. Of course, no theory is born without a base. Facts are exaggerated and a conspiracy is built upon that.
Bollywood is a nepotism factory everyone agrees. Outsiders are lucky if they make it. Most don’t even get an audition for a big film. As soon as CBI took over they said of technical lapses in Mumbai Police’s Sushant probe. Basic protocols were not followed during the initial investigation by police.
People who remember the Aarushi incident would know. Aarushi’s case was an obvious crime but in Sushant’s case whether it was suicide or homicide was not clear. We will come to that in a moment but loopholes by Mumbai Policed helped Arnab quench his thirst for TRP. Then, soon they introduced various characters in the story to spice it up.
Connection with Disha Salian – the ‘smoking gun’
The major link was that of Disha Salian’s. She was once Sushant’s manager who had committed suicide a few days before Sushant. So a desperate attempt to link two incidents was made. Disha’s father confirmed that his daughter did indeed commit suicide so stop tarnishing her reputation.
At this point, the Sushant case had become a mystery thriller. Republic captured its TRP market like Jio did with the Telecom market. Arnab knew what people wanted in a pandemic – not questions to Govt – rather a mystery with ambition, betrayal, drugs, etc. Other channels soon followed Arnab’s trail. It was a well-played drama on television. Everyone on the same track finding new ways to get TRP.
Need for TRPs lead to new Narratives
Media established way before the investigation that it was murder, Sushant’s close friends and a politician were involved, backed by Bollywood. Why Bengali people are like this, Editor? Anyways, back to the story… Sushant’s case was a tailormade for TRP as it had all the notorious elements: Bollywood, money, power, politics. Like a typical film. The plot was woven as an injustice to a genuine hero to the media tried to get him justice.
Perfect Villain: Rhea Chakraborty
One story element was missing: A perfect villain so that people could vent their anger. Enter Rhea Chakraborty who, for many reasons, fit the role of villain in their eyes. Her link with Mahesh Bhatt and their chats related to Sushant. SSR family, at the same time, had also lodged FIR against Rhea. Everyone thought: ‘Obviously Rhea must be guilty.’ Most importantly, it was claimed that Rhea was a girl who was only after Sushant’s money.
On one side of the screen her pictures and her media trial on the other. Perfect recipe. It was clearly deliberate Masala entertainment and yet people consumed it genuinely. Then her public witch hunt began. Every channel ran headlines around this Bengali woman. She was put under surveillance as if her conviction was proved.
In fact, SSR warriors declared her guilty without logic or proof. Whereas nothing substantial was found. Later AIIMS panel also ruled out murder and said that it was suicide. But, of course, CBI has not yet given closure to the case. The situation on the news severed further and so the Press Council intervened on August 28 and ordered them to obey journalistic norms. Like, have some shame, dignity.
Their plot was obviously garnering eyeballs but for how long? Factually police did not find any evidence against Rhea. ED found no trace of Money laundering against Rhea. Nothing except few credit card bills.
Bollywood: A druggy industry!
So media stumbled upon a new angle – the drug angle. TRP as well as shamelessness both soared. They were literally earning from tragedy. In fact, in October, the Bombay High Court said regarding Sushant’s case that journalists lost their neutrality. Nothing happened.
Politics: Apna Kaam banta bhaad mein jae Janta!
Three types of people benefited from Sushant’s death. Media, jobless actors and politician(s). BJP tried to capitalize on the ongoing events. Over 80k fake accounts were created to discredit the Mumbai Police probe. Almost 8000 politicians from BJP as well as INC tweeted over the case.
The University of Michigan found in a study that right-wing politicians and media houses pushed the narrative of murder. While the whole issue was politicized fans still thought they were demanding justice for SSR. There is a saying that when an elephant dies all other animals – lion, jackal, vulture – gather around one by one to take their cut. Similarly: Media, actors, politics, small-time lawyers, YouTubers each grabbed their opportunity.
The difference in this case though that the person was long gone; his past was being feasted upon. That’s why the real abuse began after his death, by these people. Not Rhea. Whatsapp chats made public on TV. Fake tweets circulated. Journalistic norms compromised.
Controversial ‘Queen’: Kangana
One person who exploited it more than others is Kangana. Kangana exploited the incident in various ways: From nepotism to fight against Maharashtra Govt. From social media following to Y+ security. Where there is controversy there is Kangana. She rambles on without logic and full of hate for others. We have already made an episode that how Justice for SSR became Justice for Kangana. Meanwhile, the public was derailed from real issues.
Conspiracy Kings: Vibhor & Ishkaran
Remember farmer bills? Many don’t know that Ishkaran Bhandari who made over 100 videos on the SSR case is actually Kangana’s lawyer. Similarly, lawyer Vibhor Anand tried to silence dissenters on Twitter. He also propagated conspiracy theories after which Mumbai Police arrested him for peddling fake news. Vibhor Anand later claimed that he was influenced by Republic Bharat. But, at the same time, he was a panelist and source for news channels. Lakhs of people took his word to be true.
The Fake News factory had a great time!
Their conspiracies stretched an incident for almost four months. The week after week conspiracy. Sushant was assaulted by a belt. He was hung by a belt. Disha’s case linked to Sushant’s? Househelp’s role in SSR’s demise? Sting on his bodyguard. Bollywood involvement? What is the Dubai hitman link?
For example, in one of the Republic’s interviews, Rhea’s neighbor claimed that on 13 June Rhea met Sushant (a day prior to suicide). Now, when the CBI probed, the neighbor failed to prove her claim before CBI. Unfortunately, people only know the claim and not that it was a wrong claim. Conspiracy does this to people: Tell so many invalid but vaguely related points that you weave a story yourself. How factual claim nobody verifies before forwarding on social media.
Conspiracy theories are more interesting than facts anyway. Conspiracy theory makes people inquisitive and wanting to gossip. Nobody gossips over facts anyway. That is why even today conspiracies persist. No matter what AIIMS say after investigation or what CBI reveals. People will still want to believe in conspiracy. So, after all is over, we know for sure that…
CBI has not found anything substantial yet. The investigation is still on though. ED did not find anything against Rhea. She was not trying to steal Sushant’s 40 crores. NCB did not find potentially harmful drugs in Rhea’s possession. Just 50 grams Ganja, which was not even considered a drug earlier. AIIMS report said it was suicide.
Mumbai Police found 80,000 fake accounts created to defame them. Rhea got the bail. Kangana got political leverage. Few lawyers made their YouTube career. A police officer almost made it politically. Media garnered record-breaking TRP. And, People? They wasted their time that’s all. It started with celebrity suicide and ended with the international drug mafia. The SSR case has covered a long distance but zero displacements.
1 year: The AfterMath
You should understand how easily you can be manipulated. At this moment Godi Media is busy distracting, Kangana is not paying taxes. Rhea’s career is finished; Sushant’s friend Siddharth sent to 14-day judicial custody. The hot topic from last year is not worthy of coverage anymore? TRP, promotion, political mileage, subscribers, clout, etc. so much gained.
The question is, what did genuine SSR fans get? Think about it for a moment because they got tricked and manipulated while they pleaded justice. Some SSR fans understood that they were taken advantage of. Some still trending hashtags targeting Mumbai Police, AIIMS, and nowadays CBI. Why? Think again.
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