Shortly after the Supreme Court transferred Sushant Singh Rajput’s case to the CBI, producer Ekta Kapoor took to social media to announce her disassociation from the ‘Pavitra Rishta Fund’. The fund was started by the streaming platform ZEE5 to raise awareness about mental health issues. It was said to be backed by a microsite which had a live panel of doctors, helpline numbers as well as expert videos. The fund was named after Ekta Kapoor’s production Pavitra Rishta, which aired on Zee TV between 2009-2014, and starred Sushant Singh Rajput in the main role. For the uninitiated, the serial commenced Rajput’s journey in the television industry and made him a household name. The fund, launched on July 14, has been receiving huge backlash due to multiple reasons, and on Wednesday morning, the hashtag #ShameOnEktaKapoor trended on Twitter.
Kapoor’s post read, “While I support the cause of mental health, I disassociate myself from the ‘Pavitra Rishta fund’ till investigations are carried out and we have a clear picture on Sushant’s unfortunate death. I withdraw myself from this fun individually as of now, as it seems there’s more to this tragic incident. Like the rest of the country, I would like the truth to come out.” Her caption-statement read, “Even though this is not a fund started by me, but by Zee and is a needed one at that, I’m always with Zee for any other mental awareness fund that they want to do. But for this one I would like to respectfully dissociate myself. #SSR Hope the truth prevails.”
Twitterati was quick to notice that even though the Pavitra Rishta Fund presented itself as a mental health outreach programme, it made no mention of Rajput. There was another set of backlash from people who denied the narrative that the actor was depressed, and who believe that the alleged suicide was actually foul play.
Vishal Kriti, Rajput’s brother-in-law, also condemned the move and tweeted out a statement saying, “@shwetasinghkirt and I don’t endorse any commercialisation in Sushant’s name. If people are doing anything using Sushant’s name, it shouldn’t be motivated by profit. The family hasn’t endorsed any for-profit activity using Sushant’s name. For any non-profit activity in Sushant’s name, please get a written clearance from Sushant’s father to prevent getting sued later. No to using Sushant as a poster boy for mental health awareness. If the family feels that they have been libelled by any organisation or individual, they will pursue legal recourse.”
Earlier at the launch of the Pavitra Rishta Fund, Ekta Kapoor gave out a statement saying, “I am extremely happy that ZEE5 has started this initiative. It is my privilege to be a part of the Pavitra Rishta Fund and will always be happy to be a part of such initiatives in the future as well.”
Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.