Bollywood: The new drug den in India?

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The death of Sushant Singh Rajput has opened a Pandora’s box for Bollywood. Besides a national uproar over nepotism in the industry, narcotic drugs and its usage is now in the limelight. It is an open secret that many celebrities use narcotic drugs be it in Bollywood or Hollywood. But 2020 saw the worst nightmares of the stars coming true as the CBI and Narcotics Bureau tightens its noose over the drug net in Bollywood. Many big names have come out during the investigation including that of Deepika Padukone, Sarah Ali Khan, Rakulpreet Singh among others. The row that engulfs the industry now is the fact that whether narcotic drugs are consumables? And should some narcotics be made legal? Many are citing the examples of marijuana becoming legal in the United States. Well it is not an entirely baseless demand, given the fact that everybody in UP and Bihar get high on Ganja, besides sadhus and sanyasis in the lower reaches of the Himalayas. After a few actors including Rhea Chakraborty and Deepika Padukone being quizzed by the NCB, ‘why’ and ‘don’t’ are the two words that are heard often now. The ‘why’ questioning politicians persuading into the drugs scandal in the system and the ‘don’t’ wanting to leave the penthouse highs and lows to its own privacy.

The celebrity counsel of Rhea Chakraborty maintained, “Rhea consuming drugs does not mean that she ‘finances’ the illegal trade in drugs. Compare this with the United States of America. Hollywood stars, when they get ‘caught’ popping and snorting, are made to serve a minimum sentence, fined or ‘sentenced’ to do community work.” Up till four months ago, Bollywood-on-drugs was unheard of. But post the death of Sushant it seems drugs is the only word coming out of Bollywood as the movies are not seeing light of the day given the pandemic. With the NCB investigating every angle over drug usage in Bollywood, it is mighty pissed off and the top actors want to be left alone to their parties. Though the law on drugs is pretty tough in India with the sentences running into 10, 20 and 40 years. But only for those peddling, selling and smuggling drugs, not consuming. “Catch the peddlers and the smugglers,” says Bollywood.

Recently, Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan also stood up in Parliament and decried Bhojpuri actor and BJP MP Ravi Kishen’s views on Bollywood and drugs. For actor-politicians, Bollywood has come first irrespective of the party one belongs. On matters that don’t concern Bollywood, they will toe the party line and blast each other in discussions and debates. But make it a Bollywood thing and the party lines blur, the dialogues look and sound the same. Today, ‘Justice for Rhea’ has become a clarion call for all of Bollywood to coalesce in a lump. Rhea Chakraborty may be the tip of the Bollywood iceberg. There are plenty who want the “special privileges” given to Bollywood taken away, however, the second bunch say Bollywood is Pakistan and China-friendly. The question is does Prime Minister Narendra Modi have the mojo in him to apply the law and the Constitution in Bollywood and in matters concerning Bollywood?

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