Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide has left a deep scar on the Indian psyche. It remains talked about and thought about for weeks in an era where even natural disasters and chilling crimes tend to be quickly forgotten. But the Mumbai police investigation into his suicide has now taken a strange turn. Film critic Rajeev Masand was called into questioning for his reviews and ratings of Sushant’s films. Reports say other critics will also be soon hearing from the cops.
This would be akin to a fishing expedition and makes one wonder whether the cops are shooting in the dark for imaginary suspects. At the core of dying by suicide is the individual’s wrecked mental state. Interplays of personal and professional decisions, relationships, bad experiences and an individual’s own susceptibility to depression play a role here. The film industry is an extremely competitive space with its own coteries, biases, and nepotistic tendencies. There is little surprise that such a community may have aggravated Sushant’s problems and wasn’t able to come to the aid of its weakest.
Reviews of a movie and an actor’s performance in it leading to summons for questioning is unnecessary harassment. Alternatively, if it is to unravel a criminal conspiracy the police must ensure they have a watertight case. Trying to ascribe blame for a suicide to other individuals often proves to be a subjective and inconclusive exercise. The IPC provision of abetment to suicide has been questioned by many experts and jurists. Mumbai police must show great sensitivity in the probe. The important conversation of nepotism in the film industry mustn’t get derailed by Keystone cops chasing phantoms.