Narcotics Control Bureau’s Bollywood fishing expedition high on politics, low on drugs
Narcotics Control Bureau, which generally ignores the Kanwarias smoking hash or mendicants high on ‘drugs’,is on a fishing expedition in Bollywood
In India, consumption of at least soft drugs such as marijuana and hashish is tolerated by society as well as law enforcement agencies. That is why actions of the NCB in summoning film stars and the media circus surrounding the case raises suspicion whether the campaign is just an opportunity to defame an industry which has by and large been a secular institution.
Deepika Padukone had shown solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University students by visiting the institution in January while protests were going on. Many within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had called for the boycott of her then upcoming film “Chhapaak”, where she plays the role of real life acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. Deepika Padukone was also one of the producers of the film.
In December last year videos had gone viral of Delhi Police entering the Jamia Millia Islamia University premises and beating up students. This was condemned by Bollywood actors such as Huma Qureshi, Sidharth Malhotra, Bhumi Pednekar, Ayushmann Khurrana and Parineeti Chopra. Film director Anurag Kashyap, another staunch critic of the Narendra Modi led government, also condemned the incident.
Last week, actor Payal Ghosh accused Anurag Kashyap of sexual harassment and Kangana Ranaut came out in support with the hashtag #arrestAnuragKashyap on Twitter. Significantly, all three actors - Mahie Gill, Huma Qureshi and Richa Chaddha -as well as Kashyap’s two former wives have denied that the trio were molested by him. But Ghosh got an audience with the Maharashtra Governor.
Kangana had tweeted earlier this month that she had managed to make films on historical figures like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Rani Lakshmibai in an “Islam dominated” film industry. In August, she had also accused Bollywood of peddling an “anti Hindu” and “anti national” narrative.
In an interview she gave to Arnab Goswami in August, she said “... when Meena Kumari had boycotted halala, could they not make one love story on halala? They couldn’t make a movie on the plight of a woman who was a victim of triple talaq?” In Peekay, they lambasted idol worship. And this country also accepted it. So, this racket, which is anti Hindu is the biggest.” Kangana Ranaut has also claimed that she plans to make a film on the plight of the Kashmiri Hindus driven out of the valley.
There seems to be a concerted effort by the ruling regime to shame and humiliate the industry. Earlier this month, Vivek Agnihotri, a filmmaker friendly to the ruling regime and who is widely credited for popularising the term “urban Naxal” was appointed to the governing council of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. He is already a member of the Central Board of Film Certification and is currently working on a film on the Kashmiri Hindu exodus which took place from the Kashmir Valley during the 1990s.
In the last 30 years, three of the biggest superstars in the Hindi film industry have been Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan. Their Muslim identity never came in the way of them becoming more and more popular in the country while a film like “Rang De Basanti” became iconic while espousing Hindu-Muslim unity.
But the concerted shaming of the film industry and linking it to drugs indicates that the Hindu right sees Sushant Singh Rajput’s death as an opportunity to consolidate its hold in the Hindi film world