It’s About Time We Let Sushant Singh Rajput Rest In Peace

Even a month after Sushant’s death, his friends, fans and the media won’t stop talking about him.

Hot Take
5 min read
Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide on 14 June.

Exactly a month ago, Sushant Singh Rajput’s sudden death shook the country. His friends, family, colleagues, fans.. everyone seemed to mourn his loss deeply. As they should. But a lot of what has happened in the aftermath of Sushant’s death has been chaotic and unruly.

The news cycle in today’s day and age is pacier than ever. One day we’re talking about a rich, powerful public figure being accused of sexual assault, the next day we’ve moved on to the next trending topic. Yet how is it that even a month after a Bollywood actor’s unexpected demise, we can’t keep ourselves from speculating and dissecting the event? What is this desperate urge to rewrite and twist another person’s narrative and what’s the reason for it?

Very recently, the trailer of the last film that Sushant worked on, Dil Bechara, dropped on YouTube. A remake of the American novel and film, The Fault In Our Stars, Dil Bechara stars Sushant and Sanjana Sanghi. Honestly, now that Sushant is gone, it’s very natural for his fans to try to hold onto every bit of him. But SSR fans kind of went overboard with this one. They took screenshots of a scene from the trailer where Sushant is wearing a t-shirt that says “Help” and started connecting dots that didn’t even exist in the first place.

Fans pointing out the “Help” t-shirt is one thing but for publications to give legitimacy to the same by picking a handful of baseless tweets as a full story seems slightly irresponsible.

It’s About Time We Let Sushant Singh Rajput Rest In Peace

There have also been some purely speculative reports about an intimate relationship between Sandip Ssingh, Sushant's former roommate and friend, and Sushant’s former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande. If this isn’t Indian media at its lowest, then I don’t know what is. Even celebrity gossip needs to have some limits, doesn’t it?

In the days just after Sushant’s death, the incident had reignited a misplaced debate on nepotism in Bollywood. Now, a whole month later, the situation has somehow snowballed into something worse with multiple tangential arguments poking out of it. Let’s break it down.

Politics Afoot?

The official post mortem report has declared that Sushant died of asphyxiation, yet there’s been this counter narrative that tries to baselessly promote the possibility of a homicide. When Kangana Ranaut called Sushant’s death a “planned murder,” it didn’t seem like she meant it literally. But things have changed. Actor-turned-MP Roopa Ganguly’s Twitter is flooded with demands for a CBI inquiry into Sushant’s Singh Rajput’s death.

The sheer number of #cbiforsushant tweets that she has put out betrays her sincerity but her fixation isn’t the real problem. It’s the conspiracy theories she has been tweeting and retweeting that are worrisome and misleading.

Actor Shekhar Suman has been another vocal warrior at the forefront of this CBI inquiry battle. On 30 June, Shekhar Suman gave a press conference in Patna where he elaborately spoke about “gangism” in the film industry being the cause of Sushant’s death. During his speech, Suman alluded that Sushant may not have taken his life because he did not leave behind a suicide note and because the actor, apparently, changed 50 sim cards in the month before his death. The very next day, Sushant’s family called the press conference a “political gimmick” and said that they weren’t aware it was going to happen. On 2 July, Suman clarified that his actions did not stem from any ulterior political motives.

It’s curious that even though Suman and Sushant met on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa almost a decade ago, Suman didn’t seem to care much about the actor until his death.

He claims to have taken it upon himself to fight Sushant’s justice battle as the actor’s family doesn’t have enough political support to do it themselves. But if it’s true, why isn’t the family saying that?

Over the past month, the Mumbai Police has made it clear that the investigation into Sushant’s death is underway, then why are people like Ganguly and Suman so adamant on pushing an alternative narrative? The only people who matter right now are Sushant’s family, and if they’re okay with the process then shouldn’t we let things be? Moreover, why is the media giving a voice to people who aren’t even remotely related to the Sushant incident?

Privacy, An Illusion

When TV media reporters barged into Sushant’s house in the wake of his death, we saw how little privacy mattered to them. A month later, we still haven’t learnt our lesson. Instead, we’ve made a complete mockery out of Sushant’s death.

In June, actor and dancer Lauren Gottlieb shared screenshots of a private conversation she had with Sushant before he died. I’m sorry but does consent not matter in the aftermath of someone’s demise? It’s one thing for the police to get access to Sushant’s private chats but for the entire internet? Nope.

View this post on Instagram

Today, I finally brought myself to look at my WhatsApp messages with Sushant over the years. I came across one conversation that broke my heart all over again, as it was filled with so much love, kindness, and true support for one another’s dreams! I felt a deep connection with Sushant as we were both “outsiders” and I looked up to him tremendously! I wanted to share this chat we had to remind everyone to walk, talk, and treat EVERYONE with this great amount of LOVE and SUPPORT as HE shared!!! I’m seeing so much hate going around. I do not want to tell anyone how to grieve, my process this week looked pretty ugly, BUT I think one of the BEST ways to honor his legacy is to BE THE BRIGHT, BEAUTIFUL, LOVING LIGHT that he exuded each and every day. The world is a better place because of Sushant’s humble heart. Let’s keep sharing his magic and be kind to one another 💖

A post shared by L A U R E N (@laurengottlieb) on

Even actor Arjun Kapoor posted screenshots of his private conversation with Sushant. One could argue that the screenshot was of a generic conversation but ethically speaking, I’m still not convinced.

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18 months ago... My last msg to him was when he posted about his mom a week after the release of Kedarnath. He was missing her I assume while the movie was being celebrated. I didn’t know him well enough though our paths crossed at yrf, events & screenings every now & then. I can’t say I understood what made him make this choice. I can say I felt the pain he did about losing his bearings & feeling that void of his mother. I hope ur in a better & happier space my friend. I hope u have found ur peace. We will all wonder & try & make sense of what happened today. I just hope & pray that when the circus settles down we as a society in due course realise ur choice wasn’t driven by one singular moment or thing but a culmination of so much that defines a human being not just by the profession u were in. Rest my dear brother Sushant you are now I hope at peace.

A post shared by Arjun Kapoor (@arjunkapoor) on

The public is obsessed with the little, seemingly private details of celebrities’ lives; it’s nothing new. But shouldn’t that change after someone’s death?

Lately, producer of the biopic PM Narendra Modi Sandip Ssingh has become very open about his relationship with former flatmate Sushant. His Instagram is an endless series of tributes to Sushant. On 20 June, Ssingh announced his directorial debut film Vande Bharatam which was apparently supposed to star Sushant. Now, we don’t know the truth but it sure does seem like Ssingh is capitalising on his so-called friend’s death, doesn’t it?

View this post on Instagram

You made me a promise. We, the Bihari brothers, will one day rule this industry and be the inspiration/support system for all young dreamers like you and me bhai. You promised me that my directorial debut will be with you. Raaj Shaandilyaa wrote this and we were to produce this together. I need your belief, that faith you showed, that was my strength. Now, with you gone...I'm lost...but I promise you this my brother. Now tell me how do I fulfil this dream? Who will hold my hand like you did? Who will give me the power of SSR, my brother? I promise you this... I will make this film! And it will be a tribute to the loving memory of SSR who inspired millions and gave them hope that anything is possible! Just dream it and believe it! Those hours of discussions on this film we dreamed to make together...the film 'Vande Bharatam' all I am left with is your memories and this poster which was our dream starting to come true, this film my brother, will be the symbol of the undying light of your soul ❤️

A post shared by Sandip Ssingh (@officialsandipssingh) on

Further, Ssingh has also been reportedly speaking to the media about seemingly private details of Sushant’s relationship with former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande, when it’s not even his place.

Sushant’s family isn’t happy with Ssingh; they’ve blamed him for using Sushant’s death for personal gains but that’s not stopping Ssingh.

Mental Illness, Media & More

On 8 July, filmmaker Apurva Asrani joined the parade with a long blog post with a very dramatic title “Do Words Have The Power To Kill?” In the 2,400 word-long essay (yes, I checked), Asrani essentially implies that Sushant was bullied and sidelined by the mainstream members of the industry and that pushed him to take his own life. It’s an incredibly self-centred piece that uses Asrani’s personal experiences to support a baseless backstory of Sushant. Ironically, Asrani starts off by criticising Twitter for saying that Sushant was “depressed” but isn’t Asrani doing the same by coming up with groundless theories about Sushant’s life? Who allowed him to speak for a man who can’t speak for himself anymore?

Asrani’s essay portrays a common pattern I’ve been noticing lately: that is the unwillingness to talk about mental health/illness without blaming it on external unsubstantiated factors.

Even TV actor Tarun Khanna recently took to Instagram to explain why it was impossible for Sushant to have been depressed because he was doing well for himself. If anything, his 10-minute rant only proves why it’s so important to speak about and normalise mental illnesses.

Having said that, the media being the fourth pillar and whatnot, needs to take a stand on what should and should not be reported. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry’s statement on Sushant's life needs coverage, even if it’s the actor’s brother-in-law himself launching a ‘Nepometer’ as a tribute.

Sushant’s last ten Google searches before his death, when he paid salaries to his employees.. these are details that may get you clicks and page views but do they serve any purpose other than fuelling a fictitious agenda-driven narrative? They don’t.

Maybe it’s time to let Sushant Singh Rajput finally rest in peace..

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