Bollywood adding to the anxiety cloud?
Celebrity deaths aren’t just leading to media clamour, but are also adding to everyone’s stress levels.Updated: Aug 08, 2020 17:17 IST
2020 has been a year that most of us, if not all, would want to completely write off the calender. While every section of society has suffered due to lockdown and Covid-19 pandemic, it is the entertainment industry which seems to be the worst impacted with the sudden and very unfortunate deaths in the fraternity.
From well-known celebrities Sushant Singh Rajput, Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Saroj Khan, Wajid Khan, lyricist Yogesh Gaur, Sameer Sharma, to budding actors such as Sejal Sharma, Preksha Mehta, and Manmeet Grewal, the industry has been left reeling. While some passed away due to illnesses, others died by suicide, as reported.
If the unfortunate deaths were not enough, the constant media coverage, attacks, accusations and trolling on social media has played havoc with the minds of not just the rest of the celebrity brigade but also regular people in general.
“To hear about deaths, especially suicides in the industry every few days, is disturbing. It just re-emphasises the fact that the people here are under great pressure,” says actor Aahana Kumra.
Sangita Vyas, 50, a homemaker who has been following all the action in Bollywood echoes the thought. “News about celebrity deaths, especially so frequently makes one worried and anxious,” she says.
While the news of death in itself is very sad, its effect compounds when it is of a celebrity or well known face. It in many ways opens up the Pandora’s box of an otherwise “glittering life”.
Actor Tisca Chopra feels actors often have outward composure, which doesn’t reveal anything of the real inner self. And it is in times such as these when the vulnerability comes out.”This dichotomy is hard, especially in this current chaos around the world. Everyone goes through low phases. But certain artistes get affected much more.”
Add to it, the current trend of social media pressures. Kumra feels that now people equate everything to social media success. “No work in six months and nothing to talk about on social media has a drastic effect,” she says.
Saumya Tandon, however, finds the “courtroom battle” in the media with “random theories, just for ratings” very disturbing and a big factor of increased anxiety levels. She says, “One fact is depicted in a new manner on every other news channel. No one knows the complete truth.” Talking about the Sushant Singh Rajput’s death investigation, she says various people are exploiting facts for their own motives. This has had a lot of negative effects. There should be a probe but I don’t appreciate the speculations on TV. This has had a lot of negative effects,” she adds.
While most agree that stress and anxiety exist everywhere, experts believe that unfortunate news from the celebrity stable disturbs the mind a lot more.
“Everyone is struggling during Covid-19 with a variety of issues but when we hear about popular stars, these deaths and their crumbling lives, we end up wondering if it happens to them, what about us? The comparison is inevitable,” says Sangeeta Vyas
Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty agrees, “Hype around celebrity suicides provoke those on the edge to think about self harm. Fictionalized news also generates subliminal messages that it’s fine to do something similar. In the Covid era where angst is intense , not following the guidelines of suicide reporting and Juvenile competitions by TV channels of ‘we reported this first’ hurts and should be avoided.”
Chopra feels there is a need in the current circumstances to look out for the entertainment industry. “During the pandemic, entertainers have kept us in good spirits. Society must be kinder to artistes. We are humans, not consumable products.”