Mumbai: Actor Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest on Tuesday in a drugs case linked to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput led several people in the Hindi film industry to decry the witch hunt and trial by media. Some others spoke of karma and the consequences of wrongdoing.
Chakraborty, who has been accused of abetting Rajput’s death by alleged suicide by his family and subjected to intense media scrutiny, was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) after three days of questioning.
The 28-year-old wore a black T-shirt which read, “Roses are red, violets are blue, Let’s smash patriarchy, me and you,” when she was arrested.
Bollywood celebrities like Sonam Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan, Anurag Kashyap, Shabana Azmi, Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar and others shared the quote on their Instagram in a show of solidarity with the actor.
Directors Hansal Mehta, Anubhav Sinha, Alankrita Shrivastava and writer Atika Chohan were among those who reacted sharply to her arrest.
Actors Swara Bhasker, Dia Mirza and Richa Chadha also came out in her support.
Sinha, the director of films such as Mulk and Article 15 , simply asked mediapersons to “resign” and seek different employment avenues.
“If you still feel like a journalist, RESIGN. You won’t die of hunger. You will discover new friends, opportunities and avenues,” the director said in a scathing tweet.
Aligarh director Hansal Mehta was equally distressed.
“Not abetment of suicide, not money laundering, not murder? Now I know why marijuana is not legalised in India yet,” he said.
Chohan, co-writer of Chhapaak, said the actor was being “incriminated” for the life choices of Rajput, her boyfriend.
“He engaged in drugs and suffered from mental illness. Why is this so difficult to accept. Why is a woman incriminated and called names for an adult man’s life choice,” she tweeted.
In an acerbic tweet, Shrivastava said, “Excellent job, India! Enjoy the burning of the witch. And while we are at it we may as well get Sati back.”
“And no, lets not lift a finger to stem any crimes against women. Lets dance wildly and applaud the fire,” added the director of Lipstick Under My Burkha.
Sacred Games star Kubbra Sait said Chakraborty may have been arrested but she is “still not a murderer”.
“May the universe give the parents of Rhea the strength through this devastating time. Arrested by NCB. Still not a murderer. #MediaCircus I wonder your conversations over your shaam ki chai (evening tea)” she said.
Hours before Chakraborty’s arrest, producer Pritish Nandy pointed out how all the other charges against her had failed.
“All charges against Rhea have failed. Murder? No evidence. Abetment to murder? She wasn’t there. Stealing Rs 15 crore? Sushant never got the money. What remains is drugs. None found on her. She’s ready for a test. Who was it for? Obvious, na?#justiceforSushant #JusticeForRhea,” Nandy tweeted.
He said if one wanted to find out “what killed” Rajput, they need to go back to the original charges.
“Harassment, humiliation in public, bullying. There are people in Bollywood who constantly ridiculed him. In this @kangna_official is right. You cannot survive Bollywood with a fragile mind,” Nandy added.
Actor-comic Vir Das tweeted, “Reminder. Abuse legal drugs…like power.”
Bidita Bag, an actor and model, wrote, “Rhea arrested…now please can we concentrate on real issues that our country is facing?… #JaiHind.”
TV actor Kritika kamra called out the media for peddling “bloodlust”.
“The media has successfully pushed us into a bottomless pit of bloodlust and hate. We’re so far down in it that we see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing,” she wrote on Twitter.
The other side
Not all reactions were critical of Chakraborty’s arrest that followed days of her being literally mobbed by camera crews and others.
Actor Ankita Lokhande, Rajput’s former girlfriend and Pavitra Rishta co-star, said “justice” has been served.
“Nothing happens by chance, by fate. You create your own fate by your actions. That’s karma,” she shared a post on Twitter.
Rajput’s sister Shweta Singh Kirti tweeted, “#GodIsWithUs” after Chakraborty’s arrest.
Actor Shekhar Suman also hailed Chakraborty’s arrest, saying, “You sow so you shall reap.”
BJP leader and singer Manoj Tiwari used the same words in his response.
“What you sow, so shall you reap! Today’s arrest teaches us that nobody can escape the consequences of wrongdoings! My prayers for the truth to unfold soon,” he said on the social media platform.
Chakraborty has in recent TV interviews denied that she consumed drugs.
Apart from the drugs case, she is facing an abetment of suicide case in connection with Rajput’s death which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing, and a related money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Rajput’s father who accused Chakraborty of abetting his son’s suicide had also claimed that she siphoned Rs 15 crore from his son’s bank accounts. The ED launched a probe into this aspect.
The NCB began a probe after Chakraborty’s mobile phone chats allegedly revealed that she used to consume drugs.
The NCB has also arrested her brother Showik Chakraborty and Rajput’s manager Samuel Miranda on drug supply charges.