No one killed Sushant….He was not a jobless victim of nepotism

Sushant Singh Rajput is the only actor in Bollywood to have turned down three films with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Bhansali first offered him Ram Leela, then Bajirao Mastani and finally Padmaavat

Photo courtesy- social media
Photo courtesy- social media

Subhash K Jha

Suddenly and very regrettably Sushant Singh Rajput‘s unspeakably tragic death has become a rallyingpoint for nepotism.

Suddenly an actress, known to shriek when a whistle would do, thinks Karan Johar and nepo-gang planned Sushant’s murder by rendering him jobless, making him feel feel worthless, driving him out of the industry.

This melodramatic screenplay being woven by the anti-nepo gang (possible title for the film Karan Zehar) is far more dramatic than any film that Sushant did in his all-too-brief career. It is also a false hysterical narrative being thrust into the public eye to hide the real reason for Sushant’s hurried journey from distinguished to extinguished.

If Sushant is not with us anymore, it’s not because he was being driven out of the industry. Of course I am not saying the Sushant was not a victim of nepotism. We all are victims of the clannish culture that exists in Bollywood.

When I began writing I was told my English was poor. “Did you attend a school in cowshed?” one editor had asked me, laughing loudly at his own joke. I told him he must excuse me as I need to go and milk my cow.

To fight nepotism you have to have a sense of humour. Sushant had it in abundance. And he had the talent and selfconfidence to go with it.

We would often laugh at this one and that one repeatedly getting roles because of his ‘connections.’ I remember a major studio head had hired a singularly untalented actress (who continues be cast in major films exclusively by this studio). In her first film she was cast with Sushant. We had a blast trying to figure where her talent began and ended.

But nepotism never held him down. And to hold Karan Johar or anyone else responsible for rendering Sushant jobless is plainly ridiculous and untrue. Because Sushant was not jobless. He was inundated with offers right till the end. He is the only actor in Bollywood to have turned down three films with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Bhansali first offered him Ram Leela, then Bajirao Mastani and finally Padmaavat.

So Ranveer Singh owes at least a part of his success to Sushant. Did Sushant feel like an outsider in Bollywood? I don’t think so. His last two films Kedarnath and Chhichore were hits. He was getting the best of offers. At no point was he being shunned for being an “outsider”. Hotshot producers like Sajid Nadiadwala and Dinesh Vijan were keen to sign him repeatedly. But in recent times, Sushant had lost interest in meeting filmmakers, discussing new projects. He wanted to be left alone.

His friends in the industry did not abandon him because he was not doing well. He was! Doing well, I mean. But how do you connect with someone who wants to be left alone? You ask to meet. Then you ask again. Then you give up.

What happened to Sushant is no one’s fault. The fault, as the title of his last film suggests, lies with the stars. And not the ones down below.

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Published: 16 Jun 2020, 1:02 PM