Rajya Sabha MP and veteran actor Jaya Bachchan on Tuesday came in for fulsome praise from many of her colleagues in Bollywood for raising her voice in the House against those defaming the Hindi film industry.
Though Bachchan did not take any names in her speech in the Rajya Sabha, her remarks came a day after BJP's Lok Sabha MP and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan said there was a problem of drug addiction in the film industry. She also said she completely disagrees with those who term the entertainment industry a "gutter".
While the Producers Guild of India as well as Anubhav Sinha, Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor and Tapsee Pannu were among those who lauded Bachchan, actor Kangana Ranaut put out a caustic tweet criticising her for the speech.
Ranaut, in the news for her provocative comments, has claimed the movie mafia is behind actor Sushan Singh Rajput's death and called Bollywood a gutter.
Bachchan said the entertainment industry provides direct employment everyday to five lakh people.
"I was really embarrassed and ashamed that yesterday (September 14) one of our members in the Lok Sabha, who is from the industry, spoke. I am not taking names. It is a shame," Bachchan said in a clear reference to Kishan's statement on the alleged Bollywood drug cartel.
"Jis thali mein khate hai usme chhed karte hai. Galat baat hai," she said, referring to a popular Hindi proverb translating to biting the hands that feed you .
Sharing her speech, filmmaker Anubhav Sinha wrote on Twitter, "I send my greetings to Jaya ji. For those who don't know, please see this. This is how spine looks like."
Sonam Kapoor said, "I want to be her when I grow up." Bachchan said the film industry always stood with the government in various initiatives.
"I hope the government tells these people who have made their earning, name and fame in this industry to stop using such language
I think it is very very important that the government must support this industry and not kill it. Just because there are few people, you cannot tarnish the image of the entire industry. Pannu said she agreed with Bachchan that the industry has always extended a helping hand in times of crisis and it was now payback time.
"For we have always stood by the initiatives, causes and awareness campaigns. It's time for payback. Hitting the nail on its head and how! Yet again a woman from the industry spoke up #Respect," the actor tweeted.
The Producers Guild of India used the same hashtag.
"The Producers Guild of India applauds Jaya ji for standing up for our industry #Respect," it said on Twitter.
In an interview with India Today, actor Manoh Bajpayee said it's "absolutely unfair" the way the industry is being projected as a drug cartel.
"There are all kinds of people here. I don't know why but I feel there's a vested interest behind all this. Honestly, I am not defending the industry. When I am saying there are good things, I am also saying I have had bad experiences too. I met some bad people...
"But when you call it (industry) corrupt or that there's drug business going on in the industry, then a person watching me on television thinks there's a drug godown moving behind me!"
Other Bollywood celebrities, including filmmaker Zoya Akhtar, director Anil Sharma and actor-producer Nikhill Diwedi, also came out in support of Bachchan.
"And yet another woman stands up," Akhtar wrote on Instagram. Actor-director Farhan Akhtar wrote, Respect. She has always stood up to be counted when it mattered. #Jaya Bachchan.
Diwedi said a false narrative was being projected about the film industry.
"JayaBachchan is right. A false narrative that a certain malaise infects the entire film industry is being created by few to look good in these times... People in any field including politics and journalism indulge in things illegal or immoral. Call them out specifically and not all," Diwedi tweeted.
Ranaut, however, struck quite a different tune and asked the 72-year-old actor to be more sensitive to others. She also brought in Bachchan's two children.
"Jaya ji would you say the same thing if in my place it was your daughter Shweta beaten, drugged and molested as a teenage, would you say the same thing if Abhishek complained about bullying and harassment constantly and found hanging one day? Show compassion for us also(sic)," Ranuat tweeted.
Highlighting working conditions in the industry, she said there are no proper HR departments in production houses where women can complain, no safety or insurance for those who risk their lives every day and no eight hours shift regulations.
In another tweet in Hindi, she hit out at filmmaker Karan Johar.
The industry was not made by just Karan Johar and his papa, she said, adding that crores of people had contributed to it, from Dada Saheb Phalke to every artist, labourer, Army jawan, leader and citizen who has bought a ticket and played the role of an audience.
She said she has a list of issues that she will discuss with the prime minister when she meets him.
Ranaut, in her earlier tweets, has called out the movie mafia for Sushant Rajput's death.
On August 26, she wrote, If narcotics Control Bureau enters Bullywood, many A listers will be behind bars, if blood tests are conducted many shocking revelations will happen. Hope @PMOIndia under swatchh Bharat mission cleanses the gutter called Bullywood, she had tweeted.