Sensationalism or realism? Films inspired by Sushant Singh Rajput draw flak - Is it too soon to cash in on a tragedy?
Bollywood filmmakers Hansal Mehta, Anurag Basu, Anand Mahadevan are of the opinion that announcing a film soon after a tragedy points towards capitalising on the unfortunate event.Updated: Jul 21, 2020 16:25 IST
How soon is too soon to make a film on a tragedy? The sad demise of Sushant Singh Rajput has not only started a conversation about mental health but also kicked up a storm in Bollywood with many attributing his death to the hard time that outsiders have in the film industry.
Now, within a month of his death, two films have been announced which are inspired by the life of the late actor, and one of them stars TikTok star Sachin Tiwari, who had become a rage on social media for his uncanny resemblance to Rajput. This again has put forth the question of whether it’s all about milking an opportunity.
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta, who has directed real-life inspired films such as Shahid (2013), Aligarh (2015) and Omerta (2018), says ultimately it all depends on the intent behind the film. “When you make a film on a true story, it’s always about the intention of the filmmaker. If the intent is to let the world know of the actual story, then it’s a different thing, but, if, it’s to simply capitalise on something that’s topical, I think that’s not ethical,” he explains.
However, filmmaker Anant Mahadevan, who has made several biopics and real-life inspired films, feels that timing of the films are totally off and it seems that the makers only want to cash in on what’s happening.
“Filmmakers have a habit of exploiting current topics and real-life situations. We saw how so many films were announced after the 26/11 attacks to an extent that a certain filmmaker even visited the location just a few days after the tragedy struck. That’s not what honest cinema is all about,” he says.
Talking about Rajput’s film in particular, Mahadevan questions the resolution of the film. “The matter is not resolved yet and ‘s a lot of public sentiment involved, how are you going to take it forward? Whatever they do will not be a truthful account because the investigation on Sushant’s death is still going on,” he adds.
Calling it “not a legit move”, director Anurag Basu feels that a film, even if it says is inspired by Rajput’s life, is way too suggestive. “Since his death, everybody has been gossiping. So, this is an extension of that. That’s what has been happening and log consume kar rahe hain. We can’t say what the film is about, as nobody knows Sushant’s story other than his parents and near ones,” Basu opines.
In such a scenario, the consent of the family of the person is paramount otherwise, it becomes illegal, feels filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee. “As far as the sensitivity of the subject is concerned, by speculating on whether he was killed or was it a suicide, basically you’re harping on sensationalism and simply trying to attract eyeballs. Lot of people tried to do that after the deaths of Sridevi and Divya Bharti, too,” points the director, who is working on his biopic on Noti Binodini.
Meanwhile, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri refused to even dignify the project with a response and guarantees that “this film will never even be made. It looks shady”.
- Just after 20 days of the face off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh, actor-producer Ajay Devgn announced that he is all set to make a film on the Galwan Valley clash that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. After the announcement many questioned whether it was a rather quick decision and may be just about cashing in on the Indian soldiers die to make the cash registers ringing.
However, Vijay Shekhar Gupta , the producer of the film, titled Suicide or Murder: A Star Was Lost, disagrees that it’s going to be an exploitation of someone’s tragic death.
“If I wanted to cash in on a popular subject for fame, I’d have made a film on Shaheen Bagh or the Anti-CAA protests. This is a comment on the film industry and how it treats outsiders and drives them to suicide. First we saw Jiah Khan and now Sushant. I want to show the world the dark side of the Hindi film industry and how it functions,” he says.
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