In a new development in the alleged drug case linked to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death probe, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has issued summons to actresses Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, and Rakul Preet Singh for questioning. As per news reports, the summons are being served at the homes of these top stars for investigating an alleged “drug nexus” in Bollywood. However, Twitterati was quick to note the strange pattern of only women’s names in the public summons. People are asking – Where are the male actors?
Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest on September 9 prompted a deeper probe into the alleged drug use in the Hindi film industry. Even before news of NCB sending summons to certain actresses surfaced today, television news channel Times Now (citing sources) had revealed the prospective name of Padukone in relation to the case.
Reactions On Social Media
Social media was quick to question why only female A-listers were being named on the news linked to drug use. It’s not like only women ‘do drugs’. Where are the men from Bollywood in this entire story? First, why are they missing and second, why are they silent?
Here are some reactions on Twitter.
Names of stars “leaking” from NCB raise 2 good questions. One, why is it only women who “do drugs” in Bollywood. 2nd, when is NCB summoning Zeenat Aman for the real ‘Dum Maro Dum’ stuff in Hare Rama Hare Krishna? TV channels would love running those videos too..
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) September 22, 2020
the way… only actresses are being “outed” wrt the drugs investigation… this country hates women SO much
— moira rosé (@uhhnisha) September 22, 2020
The media coverage of all these actresses who have been summoned i.e Shraddha Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, puts a big question mark on whether reporting on this issue is balanced journalism or simply sensational for sake of TRPs. Channels are playing on viewer interest in the heroines to raise questions of their ‘involvement.’ Footage of Padukone’s films and others are on tv split screen windows where anchors are dissecting finer points of the film industry’s alleged drug nexus. By flashing pictures of these actors drinking, wearing short clothes, are news channels are indirectly casting aspersions on these women’s characters, questioning their dignity as women? Have we forgotten that the footage is of their acting characters from films?
In fact in some cases the reporting is so detailed, it seems media has decided that these women indeed are to blame. These issues have not escaped social media watchers. Here’s what some are noting.
So @IndiaToday has a discussion on the finer points of narcotics laws and the biggest window on screen has Deepika Padukone in swimwear and item number footage played on loop. This show is called Newstrack. How hurtful for those who worked at Newstrack.
— Abhinandan Sekhri (@AbhinandanSekhr) September 22, 2020
News channels showing Deepika Padukone in the Dum Maaro Dum title track with a montage of drinking visuals from the film Cocktail while they overlay voice-reports about her "alleged drug links" is where the Indian media is at right now.
— Asmita Bakshi (@asmitabee) September 22, 2020
Is the media drawing false correlations for the audience? Could such coverage automatically lead viewers to blame these actresses for the alleged drug problem in Bollywood?
On social media, as usual, trolls are quick to emerge and give their ‘verdict’ soon as a summon or update comes in this case. Like this one, which called for retweets from those ‘who wanted them in jail’
Dia Mirza Denies Drug Links, Calls Out Media Coverage
Earlier, actor Dia Mirza’s name was also floating around in connection to the “drug nexus”. The actor took to Twitter to categorically deny all claims and asking for responsible reporting in the matter. She wrote, “Such frivolous reporting has a direct impact on my reputation being besmirched and is causing damage to my career which I have painstakingly built with years of hard work.”
She also mentioned that she has never procured or consumed narcotics in her life, and will be pursuing “the full extent of legal remedies available to me as a law abiding citizen of India” following the media reports of her.
Recently Deepika Padukone’s manager Karishma Prakash was sent summons but she and Padukone were travelling to Goa for a shoot as per reports. Prakash is also a talent manager at KWAN Talent Agency. The Enforcement Directorate previously investigated the same agency in the Sushant Singh Rajput death-case. Reports suggest the NCB has recovered WhatsApp chats that point to her involvement in the alleged Bollywood drug nexus.
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