‘Drugs bust’ case: While law takes its course, it is unlikely that going will get any easier for Aryan Khan
Industry insiders fear that the righteous, regressive public discourse about “cleansing” Bollywood could turn loud again, given the increased levels of bigotry
Even as the concerned officials and Union ministers maintained silence over the seizure of 2,988.21 kg heroin by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) at Mundra Port, Gujarat, the sensational Aryan Khan ‘drugs bust’ case is still unfolding.
According to latest reports, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has now sought custody for Aryan Khan till October. He has been sent to custody till Thursday.
Earlier on Sunday, Aryan was arrested by NCB after it allegedly busted a ‘rave party’ on a cruise ship. He was charged under sections 8C, 20B, 27 and 35 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act for involvement in consumption, sale and purchase of contraband drugs. All the offences are bailable.
The news sent Bollywood into a characteristic shocked silence mode, with a few voices chiming tentatively in SRK’s support. While Salman Khan visited his neighbour’s residence ‘Mannat’, Suniel Shetty said that Aryan was just a kid. Pooja Bhatt tweeted: “I stand in solidarity with you @iamsrk Not that you need it. But I do.”
Hansal Mehta weighed in with care and consideration: “It is painful for a parent having to deal with a child getting into trouble. It gets complicated when people begin to arrive at judgements before the law takes its
course. It is disrespectful and unfair to the parent-child relationship. With you @iamsrk”.
Indeed, the legal mechanism has to take its proper course for the accused to be pronounced guilty, or not. But for now, disproportionate attention again got fixated on Bollywood that has anyhow been beset with huge financial losses, creative uncertainty and censorship issues in the last year and a half of the pandemic.
The news of seizure of 13 gram of cocaine, 5 gram of MD, 21 gram of charas and 22 pills of MDMA (Ecstasy) has been getting splashed all over, while the case of almost 3000 kg of heroin being seized at Adani-operated Mundra seaport in Gujarat seems to have been all but forgotten.
Would this be the beginning of the second season of the saga that started in June end last year with the death by suicide case of actor Sushant Singh Rajput? Hopefully not. The charges of supposed large-scale drug abuse in the film industry have been flying in the air since then. There were accusations of embezzlement and supplying drugs against Rajput’s girlfriend actor Rhea Chakraborty. She was subsequently arrested and released on bail.
Actors Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan were also probed by the NCB. This was followed by the arrest of Agisilaos Demetriades, brother of actor Arjun Rampal’s partner Gabriella.
Pro-establishment trolls and sections of the media used it all to hold voyeuristic TV viewers captive with prime-time trials and smear campaigns. The besmirched Bollywood was forced to retaliate against the vilification with almost all leading production houses, filmmakers, stars and industry bodies such as the Producers Guild of India and Screenwriters Association coming together October last year to file a civil defamation suit through law firm DSK Legal in the Delhi High Court, seeking to restrain Republic TV and Times Now from ‘irresponsible and derogatory remarks’ about the industry.
A similar narrative appears to be re-emerging again. Within a day, while the hashtag #WeStandWithSRK has begun trending on Twitter, so are #BollywoodDruggies and #SRK_का_बेटा_नशेड़ी.
Industry insiders fear that the righteous, regressive public discourse about “cleansing” Bollywood could turn loud again, given the increased levels of bigotry. Already a short clip from the Simi Garewal show has been doing the rounds, where SRK indulged in casual chat about his son and drugs. Not only has it been pulled out of context but the outrage against SRK is unmindful of the twisted, self-deprecatory humour the star is known for. Did something said in jest in the past need to be taken seriously now?
If this wasn’t enough, things reached rancid, rabid levels on social media with pictures of an “irresponsible” Khan and his “spoilt” son being compared with the shot of a janeudhari R Madhavan and his ‘achiever son’. It marked a new low in a landscape where SRK has anyhow been in the eye of a storm for his outspokenness about his identity, surname, politics, liberal and secular beliefs and for not openly toeing the establishment line.
While the law takes its course, it is unlikely that the going will get any easier for Aryan. What also remains to be seen is how the entire incident will affect Brand SRK. Will the various brands associated with him continue the association? Also, he has maintained his distance from the government till now. Will he also be forced now to fraternize and fly kites--like Salman Khan--with the powers that be? The ramifications of the charges on the son will trickle down to the father.
Views are personal
Published: 04 Oct 2021, 5:25 PM