Reports of Crime Branch busting a casting couch racket in Mumbai a few days back has added fresh evidence that Bollywood indeed is a dirty web of sex, drugs, and countless atrocities that never come to light.
Bollywood and its by-products have long been revered and lapped up by Indian audiences for decades now.
We seem to have a special affiliation, fancy, and a god-like – craze for so-called heroes and the heroines of this complicated, secretive, and fame crazy industry.
The industry has succeeded for decades in deceiving the audiences of certain facts and truths that are best hidden in the garb of playing on-screen heroes who defy all pressures and oppose evil while rescuing the heroines and keeping their ‘izzat.’
But the alleys to this industry and into this industry are dark and dangerous, full of figures lurking in the shadows to take advantage of your innocence and often hoping that the new entrant would also adopt the habits rampant in the industry.
Herein is a case of fresh evidence that Bollywood is not what it portrays on screen, and neither are the individuals who work in various capacities to be taken lightly and innocently.
The accused in the Casting Couch racket busted by the Crime Branch is a three-member gang run in the code name – Prem, along with two women who would target and allure women working in web series, advertisements, and movies on the pretext of giving them roles (not a new storyline here) but forced them into prostitution instead.
Prem, who worked in a casting director and film producer’s capacity, allegedly traped models and actresses into the flesh trade on the pretext of offering them roles in movies.
Albeit the above case is not new, thankfully, the general public is aware that the casting couch does exist in its morbidity in the film industry, but the issue has never received its fair share of questions and investigations into the matter.
Me Too Movement – which took momentum in Bollywood a few years ago, did bring out some courageous women and some men to recount their horrifying experience in the hands of those who had the power to exploit them.
It threw some names out in the open – Sajid Khan, Nana Patekar, Utsav Chakraborty, Shubash Ghai, Suhel Seth, Alok Nath, Kailash Kher, Chetan Bhagat, Kanan Gill, and so many more – that it can form a list long enough to be written on several pages.
These are personalities – actors, directors, authors, photographers, senior journalists, ministers, and many more, all eminent personalities, in the position of power and money.
It is also a fact – that it is not that such acts are committed and are prevalent only in the Film Industry.
It is prevalent in other sectors, too, be it the cutthroat corporate world or the world of politics, predators are lurking and working on their predatory skills in all walks of life and all professions.
The underlying thread that ties all of them together is the need for power, money, fame; it is a psychological game that gives a certain high to the individual or groups indulging in such acts.
Where is the money coming from?
Have you ever wondered how the small-time actors and other personalities and even some of the most popular (without taking names) survive and maintain their lifestyle in a city like Mumbai, one of India’s most expensive cities and the world?
How seemingly small-time personalities earn a living when they have no movies at hand or minor roles with no significant weight, and yet go on to launch and open big restaurants, production houses, or any other venture; where and how do they make money? Where are they getting the resources to make such big investments?
How is it that they can make appearances after appearances in shows, parties, and other elite events dressed in the best and the most lavish designer outfits and accessories, showing off their latest and expensive high-end cars when they have not delivered a single movie, a hit or even unseen in any capacity on the screen?
How is it that they maintain their lavish lifestyle while the rest of us mortals work endlessly and laboriously to earn our money?
Yes, it is also true they are many who may knowingly and willingly agree to enter into sexual encounters or other acts with directors, producers, actors, or otherwise for roles in various capacities in a film or for any other gain.
However, the difference here is the willingness. It’s a choice, a decision that they make fully aware of what they agree to.
But herein lies the difference between willingness and those who are pushed into it unwillingly or with deceit.
The trend of setting NGO’s
The latest trend in Bollywood and also in other prominent sectors is to enter and set up NGO’s.
This could be a PR machinery at hand and to portray an image which is so good and pious, we are so generous, we are so charitable.
However, if we dig deeper, we would be astounded by the truth of this trend.
Firstly, NGO’s are granted specific provisions and tax benefits under the India Income-tax Act.
This would partly answer the trend of opening and being associated with NGO’s.
Secondly, it has been debated in certain sections of the media that these NGO’s are merely a façade for various other activities – a well oiled legal channel to churn money – turn black money into white, money laundering and some more serious allegations that have recently surfaced due to Sushant Sing Rajput’s case.
Specific investigations into the matter threw up topics and workings that, even though they were deliberated upon but owing to the severity of the case and the people involved, quickly and systematically reduced to whispers because of fear and lack of evidence in most cases.
The debate highlighted some critical issues that touched upon – Child trafficking, Organ trafficking, Prostitution, Abuse, Drugs, Controversial Deaths, and, yes, the casting couch.
If one goes deeper and perhaps digs into each of the famous personalities, it might just open a pandora’s box that would be difficult to shut.
These are secrets that are best kept hidden because their implications would mean losing fame, money, and power.
Think carefully about what you see on screen and what is consistently fed to the public. It is just an image; the personalities lurking behind these images may be nothing short of monsters.
Here are some of the facts that are available in the public domain – a well-known actor who has had various trysts with law and order – be it the blackbuck case or the mowing down of innocent people sleeping on the sidewalk – what has happened and what has been the result of these cases?
The answer is nothing; the actor continues to be the ‘Bhai’ of Bollywood, his movies are still released lapped up by the general audiences, His shows still garner maximum views.
He opened an NGO that primarily works in education and health care and children; it also offers products (clothing) under its brand.
If the actor is so devout, he should have handed himself to the police in both the cases that he was involved in. As someone who portrays himself as a hero in movies and fighting the bad guys, well, then live up to it and show the people of India that you are what you portray on screen and in real life – a big brother!
Many other unknown facts about many of the leading personalities, which if it saw the light of the day, would leave one speechless and dumbfounded with an expression – really?!
Why are we so scared of touching upon these subjects? Why do we not have the power to question these so-called public figures – the answer is who will bell the cat?
Who will get caught in the murky side alleys full of shadows, a world not known and dark, a complicated web that if and when you get caught in – will be difficult to get out.
The point here is that if someone even so as to attempts to get the facts out or probe deeper into these allegations, it is very likely that the truth would still not come out but instead, the person may get sucked in so deep that they might find themselves unable to escape the repercussions.
Politics and Bollywood tend to mirror each other when it comes to money, power, fame – the trappings are similar, the highs are identical, and so are the lows, but in between are the thousands of innocent lives that get lost in the labyrinth of silent despair and a never-ending spiral downward in case they happen to fall on the wrong side of the coin.
As citizens, we need to be vigilant and understand the difference between what is fed to us via PR and the reality of this game of thrones, irrespective of which industry and sector we may talk about; this is, unfortunately, the sad reality that exists and surrounds us all.