‘I wish Sushant Singh Rajput had spoken up’: Apurva Asrani writes about the struggle for survival in film industry
Film writer-editor Apurva Asrani has written a blog, emphasising on the need for a discussion around the mental pressure involved in working in the film industry. He has also written about his ugly and public fight with filmmaker Hansal Mehta, his struggle with Bells Palsy and more in the blog.
Sharing some of the ugliest struggles he had while trying to get work after he had edited Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya, Apurva wrote on the blog, “In my 20’s (I had cut Satya before I turned 19), directors called me to hotels for narrations. Once, as I waited in the lobby for a director, I got a message that the meeting has moved to his room. There the director was alone, in his bath gown, displaying an unsavoury view of his privates. I ran. Then once, I got invited to a journalist’s birthday party, only to discover that besides his boyfriend, I was the only guest invited. Like vultures they circled me, till I beat a hasty retreat.”
Apurva also thanked Manoj Bajpayee for standing by him in the toughest of times. “Fortunately, some producers did reach out to me and offered me work. One of them was Zoya Akhtar, who breathed hope into me by giving me Made In Heaven to edit. Also, Manoj Bajpayee, the lead actor of both Satya and Aligarh, stood by me. He publicly endorsed my work on both those seminal films when it mattered the most. Yet the stress was too much, and I woke up one morning to realise that half my face was paralysed. I couldn’t shut one eye, my speech was impaired and I looked like a freak. I learned that I had a nervous condition called Bells Palsy and it came with severe vertigo and vomiting. I was too sick to edit the climax episodes of MIH, and someone replaced me to finish the series. It was a very painful period. I cried myself to sleep on most nights and stopped getting out of the house. I felt humiliated, let down by my ilk, and was absolutely shattered,” Apurva wrote.
Talking about how he has not received any support as he spoke about Sushant Singh Rajput, Apurva wrote, “I am not surprised to see that I am being ostracised by many of my industry peers for taking on this fight and naming names. Besides Manoj Bajpayee (thank god for him!), not one industry person has reached out (so far), even privately, to say that they are with me. Soon, someone will try to discredit me with some slander on a portal or a tabloid. But that doesn’t scare me, I’ve seen these games played before.”
Asking the discourse to focus on blind items written about celebrities, Apurva wrote, “I am among the few from the film industry that continues to question why Sushant Singh Rajput was bullied in the period leading to his death. Some of my friends have come to the conclusion that Sushant was depressed, couldn’t handle the stress that came with the movie industry, and therefore took his own life. Firstly, I don’t know how they have diagnosed Sushant’s condition whilst sitting on twitter. How do we know what kind of depression Sushant suffered from? We have no records of his mental health history. What we do have are about 30 blind pieces in the public domain, all that carried some appalling, destructive ideas about him. Why are we so afraid to allow a discussion on this?”
Apurva also wrote that late Sushant Singh Rajput was ignored by most in the fraternity. “Watch Sushant in so many of those film promotion videos, he is pretty much ignored by the fraternity. I wish he had spoken up. But he may have taken the advice of ‘well wishers’ who easily dispense advice like, ‘don’t talk, let your success do the talking’. So the boy marched on,” he wrote.
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