A video from Karan Johar's get-together party, which the filmmaker had shared on social media himself, has raised some serious allegations about Bollywood stars alleged involvement in drug abuse. Akali Dal MLA Manjinder S. Sirsa accused that Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal, Arjun Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Malaika Arora were flaunting a "drugged state" at the party.
Sirsa even wrote an open letter on Friday seeking an apology from the Bollywood stars for what he believed was a wild drug binge. Most among B-Town's creme de la creme are maintaining a studied silence over the issue.
While many agree with the Akalai Dal MLA that stars should desist from making public such behaviour because they set a bad example on the impressionable minds that worship them, others say this their private space.
However, rapper Hard Kaur has unrolled the industry's dark secrets and said that "doing drugs has become a showoff factor."
"It was okay till 'gaanja' was the in-thing, nowadays the industry maxim is if you don't do coke, you ain't cool. Doing drugs has become a showoff factor. Cocaine, after all, is an expensive drug," Hard Kaur was quoted as saying by IANS.
Kaur states she is talking about "almost everybody I know... just everywhere", and it includes "women and men", she adds. "It's like a gang versus gang thing. The ones that stay together snort together."
Kaur also points out that many stars feel their fame gives them the licence to do drugs.
"It's almost like I can do what I want (because) I am a star. Apparently, you are supposed to have sex, drugs and rock n' roll' lifestyle. I'm not a perfect person and you have seen me under the influence of alcohol, but I'm constantly aware of actors and models indulge in these things. Everyone does it," she adds.
Commenting about the state of stars in the viral video, Kaur said, "That look isn't a drunk look. Being drunk makes you loud, cocaine makes you calm, LSD makes you love each other and acid makes you think god is here. I am often told that cocaine is a confidence booster. But what about when the high is over?"
Bollywood's connection with drugs, after all, is nothing new. For decades now, whispers have done the rounds about how top quality substance is made available at super exclusive parties, privy to select guests. Gossip magazines have often cautiously tossed names such as Fardeen Khan, Prateik Babbar, Vijay Raaz and Mamta Kulkarni as actors who have been involved in drug scandals, although names of superstars are hardly ever mentioned. Everyone, however knowns, every major celebrity in B-Town is doing it. It's just that only Sanjay Dutt's name has come out in the open in this context, thanks to the actor's biopic, "Sanju", which elaborately depicted his drug phase.
Image is something that bars Indian filmstars from being honest about these things, most stars would tell you. A star son who had one of the most promising debuts in recent times in 2010 only to subsequently fade away after a self-confessed brush with drug abuse, is not surprised at the latest incident at Johar's house.
These things, he points out on condition of anonymity, keep happening in Bollywood. "Drugs and Bollywood have a long standing connection. It was more underground and discreet earlier, but today it is increasingly becoming more rampant. It has almost become a necessity. At this rate, we will see OD deaths among Indian celebrities too, as it happens in the West," he says.
Celebrities may be defensive about their ilk, saying the drug menace is all-pervasive in society and not restricted to Bollywood, but most professionals associated with the industry would tell you drugs have always been a way of life for the partying set.
"You cannot have private parties in Bollywood without drugs, anyone in the industry knows. I can recall the parties hosted by a Bollywood couple that has since then separated. Drugs would be spread out on a large table and the binging would start. They'd arrange for a wide variety of drugs, and the wives and girlfriends would be part of the merriment, too. I know of several television producers, too, who had their own gangs for exclusive parties," says the owner of a Mumbai-based talent management firm, not wishing to be named.
"Cocaine rules these days, although smoking pot is also common, so are weed and hash. I see it all the time, at Bollywood's high-end parties," avers the founder of a PR firm, on grounds of anonymity.
"This is nothing new. Drugs at Bollywood parties have been going on for ages. Roll it, snort it, do it and forget it e that's the mantra," the PR pro sums it up.
(With IANS Inputs)