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Rhea Chakraborty’s Arrest Causes Bollywood To Rhyme About Patriarchy And Justice. Who Do We Believe?

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Breaking News! Sushant Singh Rajput’s former girlfriend and murder accused Rhea Chakraborty has been arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau for alleged drug abuse. Sorry, I thought if I didn’t add that sensationalism to it, people wouldn’t be bothered to read on. Because that’s what sells these days, doesn’t it? And I won’t even call out the journalists and news anchors for it all again because it is us, the common folk, bored of the pandemic and thirsty for entertainment, that are buying the tickets to this circus. The public shaming and downfall of a celebrity is never in silos. It is the bringing down of a flawed celebrity culture, whose members love being adored, coveted, and envied for their fame, fortune and clout. As Rhea gets thrown behind bars without bail, her Bollywood and television industry peers stand divided over her fate. And they’re expressing their strong opinions via different iterations of a popular rhyme.

They rhyme in question goes, “Roses are red. Violets are blue. Let’s smash the patriarchy. Me and you.” It became a sort of slogan for those speaking up against the mobbing and witch-hunt like nature of the media trials that dogged Rhea Chakraborty, after she was seen wearing a slogan t-shirt with the verse on it, during her appearance at the NCB.

The quote on the t-shirt got more attention than the nature of Rhea’s arrest. The major section of the population, all crusaders under the #JusticeForSSR cause, erupted in victory over Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest. It didn’t matter that the arrest was for drug usage, not even possession, and definitely not for the hitherto unconfirmed murder of Sushant Singh Rajput. The woman that the country has been almost unanimously hating on was arrested and our social media feed was full of smiling pictures of the late SSR, with captions that indicated how happy and at peace his soul would be right now.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, two things were happening. One, SSR’s father, KK Singh, filed a complaint against psychologist Susan Walker, who was treating Sushant, for revealing to the media that he was suffering from bipolar disorder. In his complaint to the Medical Council of India, Singh claimed that by revealing details about Sushant’s, she had flouted serious client confidentiality.

Now, I’m a little confused as to why anything that gives us more information about the actor’s mindset should be kept hidden, considering prima facie, his death as ruled as a suicide and is still not confirmed to be a murder. Ergo, it becomes even more important that while the agencies investigate his drug abuse and personal and professional relationships, the late actor’s mindset at the time of his death is perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle that needs to be uncovered. And yet.

Second, the entertainment industry, which is the professional field of both Sushant and Rhea, was a divided house over the arrest. While those seeking justice for Sushant Singh Rajput, which included a lot of his television peers, and spearheaded by his former girlfriend and Pavitra Rishta costar Ankita Lokhande, believed that this was a stroke of justice, Bollywood actors, filmmakers and the lot decided to speak up against Rhea being turned into a scapegoat and being so intensely persecuted for drug usage, something that is a widespread problem in the country. They’d know. They gave us Udtaa Punjab about the rising drug abuse in the north and the cross-border drug trade that was corrupting its youth.

Celebrities like Taapsee Pannu, Sonam Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Dia Mirza, Vidya Balan, Shibani Dandekar, Ankur Tewari, Anurag Kashyap, Alankrita Shrivastava, Patralekhaa, Radhika Apte, Vijay Varma, Radhika Madan, Richa Chadha, Huma Qureshi, Swara Bhasker, Neha Dhupia, Abhay Deol and several others have shared the poem off Rhea’s t-shirt. The lines called out for smashing the patriarchy that enables women to be labelled as witches who can use black magic to convince a 30-something-year-old man to take drugs, and eventually, end his life. Not to mention, the same patriarchy allows men to indulge in all sorts of vices (bhaang, consumed on Holi, is also a form of cannabis, which for all intents and purposes, is a drug approved by our ancestors), and male celebrities to get away with drug usage but mobs women in an inhuman fashion.

Anurag Kashyap also tweeted an explanation as to why Bollywood was being mum over the whole issue, and why they were now speaking up for Rhea to be treated fairly.

Since we’ve decided that social media is the place where all our wars are going to be fought henceforth, there had to be a counter-attack for this. And thus, the rhyme was taken for a little twist by those supporting Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest.

Now here’s where people like you and me, who might be inclined to question everything with healthy skepticism, might get confused. And clear disclaimer, this is my thought process, and only mine. Yours can be different, but perhaps this will help clear some confusion and help you make an informed decision.

First things first, drugs are bad, there’s no denying that. It’s a vice that has ruined lives, perhaps much faster than alcohol or smoking has. The fact that not just Bollywood but the entertainment industry in general is drenched in this vice, amongst other vices is an open secret. Blame it on the stress, the lifestyle, the company or the overwhelming fame, drug abuse is quite rampant in certain industries. So defending that would be wrong, yes.

Second, everyone has vices. Some drink, some smoke, some shoplift, some bribe the traffic cop to get out of a drink-and-drive charge. Some slip in something extra to the passport verification officer because they know that’s how bureaucracy works. And someone steals money from their own home. And these days, almost every third person I know rolls and lights one up to take the edge off. How are we prosecuting these crimes, because big or small, that’s what they are, correct? We’re definitely not making them a public spectacle. We’re giving these people a chance to explain themselves, to reason with those calling them out, and even handing out second chances. We are not holding them guilty in a social media trial.

And third, let us not forget that the deceased actor in question also indulged. And yet, the narrative is being shaped as if it was a woman who ushered him into the world of drugs and other vices. We are willing to believe that Rhea was a witch who could’ve used black magic and seduced SSR into taking drugs. But we refuse to consider the possibility that perhaps his delicate mental health may have driven him, just like it drives thousands of people, to drug abuse too. And therefore, prosecuting Rhea might not be wrong, but holding a woman responsible for a man’s decisions, without any concrete proof for the same, is an offshoot of indoctrinated patriarchy.

So far, Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest has been only for consuming weed/ganja herself. There is no mention of Sushant Singh Rajput, his drug usage or anything about his death in the official statement put out. Which is why, the ‘witch hunt’ and celebration needs to stop. Let the courts decide Rhea’s fate, without being influenced by what a @cooldude111 or @AngelPriya’s conspiracy theories about what happened are. Sure, it feels nice to bring down those more famous, popular, and high and mighty than us. But what morals are we giving up to do that? Is it really their downfall or ours?

As an important caveat to this entire discussion, there also comes a responsibility that is now on the entertainment industry after having lost a star like Sushant Singh Rajput to its problematic culture.

The stars, whose bright lights are merely a reflection of our adoration of them, owe this to us. And they’ll probably even give it to us, only if we let them and not call them out for voicing their opinions.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
The truth’s so polluted by agenda
We’ll never have a clue.

The Gleeful Celebration Of Rhea Chakraborty’s Arrest Shows How We Have Messed Up Priorities


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