Trigger warning: Mentions of suicide
Recently, I had a conversation with my grandmother. It was after Aryan Khan was arrested in connection with a drugs-on-cruise case.
She was talking about the case and who all were involved in it. Now, Aryan Khan is 23 years old. I asked my grandmother, “In some parts of our country, a 23-year-old is old enough to be a husband and a father. In other parts, he is just a child. Which one do you agree with?”
Her response was, “A 23-year-old is just a child, of course.”
Since, Aryan Khan’s arrest, social media is witnessing the closest thing to ‘Bollywood vs NCB part 2.’ Part 1 happened last year, where Rhea Chakraborthy was investigated in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide and drugs case.
Her arrest was linked to drugs usage and not buying or selling. But we know how this culture of cancelling works and what is often needed is the word ‘arrest’. The media ganged up around her. Social media became the judge, jury, and executioner. One Bollywood actress, who grabs every single opportunity to be on national headlines by making everything about her somehow, also didn’t disappoint.
On a personal note, I don’t fully concur nor disagree with my grandmother’s views on a 23-year-old man.
I don’t intend to be an ignorant critic and tap dance around the issue because of the ‘national interest’ angle being projected. Aryan Khan is legally an adult. He is old enough to face accountability for his actions ‘if he is guilty of all the allegations’. None of those involved in cinema can pass the social justice purity test or be held on a pedestal in terms of moral righteousness.
But, he doesn’t deserve to be at the centre of all the scrutiny. Suniel Shetty said earlier that Khan deserved to be given the breathing space to prove himself. It was reported that he was only invited and didn’t even have the boarding pass.
Drugs is everyone’s concern. However I am sure NCB and other authorities have not been idle beyond SRK’son and SSR ex gf case. There nust have been loads others. Infact recently a container full of drugs was nabbed.
The two individuals are irrelevant to public interest.
— shilpi tewari (@shilpitewari) October 3, 2021
Drug addiction is a disease and not everyone comes out of it alive. We read about the death of Philip Seymore Hoffman due to heroin overdose. Demi Lovato survived strokes and heart attacks due to drug overdose. Added to that, media has also furthered the narrative around drug addiction by stigmatising the users. If either Khan or Chakraborthy is a user, then, in my opinion, the narrative should be around rehabilitation.
As expected, the media made every major headline about him. His case has become an excuse for those who simply want to tear his famous father down, right from the fandom wars on Twitter and the viral memes. Then come the politicians who still haven’t forgiven SRK for his old comments about tolerance.
Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide and drugs racket was used last year as a distraction from the COVID-19 related crisis, farmers’ crisis, economic issues, and more. Aryan Khan’s arrest happened on the same day when the farmer’s murder in Lakhimpur was reported where minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra was involved.
Aryan Khan did the voice for Simba in the ‘Lion King’ remake’s Hindi version. Apart from that, the closest thing to fame he has is his superstar father and designer mother. His legal case is his parents’ problem. If there is a larger drugs racket involved then that is clearly what the nation should be worried about. If Khan is guilty of possessing and selling drugs, he should be dealt with legally. But, the case is still ongoing and the proceedings should be given the time and respectful breathing space needed.
Let’s look at another such case.
Speculations around the divorce of Naga Chaitanya and Samantha Ruth Prabhu began since she dropped Akkineni from her social media.
The couple made their separation official on social media recently. “Give us the privacy we need to move on,” is a line clearly mentioned in their joint statement.
— chaitanya akkineni (@chay_akkineni) October 2, 2021
As expected, the one Bollywood anti-feminist icon (according to whom COVID-19 oxygen crisis is about trees, there is no proof of mental illness, and every actress who disagrees with her can be slut-shamed/dragged down despite her own feminism) grabbed the oppurtunity, disregarding that one important line in their statement.
She jumped into the social media noise and conjured the speculation around the involvement of a superstar in their divorce.
In her lengthy statement, she desperately tried to project herself as someone who knows the couple well enough to understand the depth of Samantha-Naga marriage, and that only a certain divorce expert can break them up.
Because the characters in her filmography included a well-respected freedom fighter and two solo blockbusters, it didn’t take long for the noise to enter another level and dig up all the possibilities of this superstar’s desperation to separate the two South Indian actors.
The noise didn’t end there. People who have used social media for years, who are part of fandoms and related discussions are aware of the ‘antis’ and how bad they can get.
Samantha’s personal life became a topic of interest to be ripped into shreds and conjure more rumours. Anything that is dropped on the internet can spread like a wildfire and for someone who is going through a difficult, it is their healing process that gets affected.
In a patriarchal society, it is women who bear the brunt when it comes to divorces and separations.
— Samantha (@Samanthaprabhu2) October 8, 2021
Nobody knows what happened in their lives but it is theirs and theirs alone. For viewers, if any part of Samantha or Naga Chaithanya’s is part of their business, it is their respective work. Divorces are hard to read about. Decisions are taken for their best interests. It should be left that way only.
The same can be said in both Aryan Khan and Samantha Ruth Prabhu’s cases. Let the judicial proceedings happen in the former’s case. Give Samantha the time to heal and breathe. Neither of them deserves any sort of media butchering.
Life is hard and kindness is important. In this case, leaving certain noises alone is the best way.
Live and let live.