Actress Rhea Chakraborty has been in the eye of the storm as a prime accused in the trial of Sushant Singh Rajput's death. Since his death, what was meant to be an investigation has turned into a public trial of eccentric proportions. This has meant that the line between 'accused' and 'guilty' has turned non-existent and almost irrelevant.
That being said, a large part of the blame has been put on Indian media for its reportage on the matter and the dogging of the case. In a message to the media, 2,500 individuals and 60 organisations have signed an open letter. Among them are Bollywood's big names like Sonam Kapoor, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, and others questioning the media.
Open letter seeks to check media
The case of Rhea Chakraborty and the ongoing trial in the Sushant Singh Rajput case has become a public spectacle no one expected. It has also received much fodder from the media, from the politicisation and from the general public on social media. In the marked trajectory of the case since it was opened, multiple viewpoints and speculation have left everyone wondering what the truth is.
Rhea Chakraborty went from 'actress' to 'accused' overnight, soon after the case snowballed, more than the trial and the investigation, the public's rage against her was beyond what one could imagine. And this is where many feel that the media has a part to play in this 'witch-hunt' and 'vilification' of Rhea Chakraborty.
Well into the trial, Bollywood is now standing up for the actress even as the investigation against her proceeds. A feminist critique has also come out in protest of subjecting a woman to such condemnation. The urge is to wait to form a public opinion until her crime is proven and the verdict pronounced.
In an open letter, published by Feminist Voices, many who work in Bollywood including — Sonam Kapoor, Zoya Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Rahul Bose, Anurag Kashyap, Gauri Shinde, Shibani Dandekar, Dia Mirza, Ranvir Shorey and others, a total of 2,500 individuals have signed the letter. 60 organisations have also backed the letter. These include activists, academia and so many more.
The letter reads, "We, are worried about you. Are you feeling ok?" It then goes on to call the media's coverage 'mean-minded drama of Rhea Ko Phasao'.
Further in the letter, it calls out Indian media's position on the bigger names in Bollywood:
We know you can be different — because we have seen you be kind and respectful to the Salman Khans and Sanjay Dutts of this world, urging us to think of their families, fans and careers. But, when it comes to a young woman who has not even been proven to commit any crime, you have assassinated her character, egged an online mob on demonise her and her family, fuelled wrongful demands and called her arrest your victory.
The letter further goes on to criticise media for "trivialising" mental health and how Rhea Chakraborty was attacked for taking her boyfriend's mental health seriously. Asking the media to stop feeding the binary of 'good' versus 'bad' women, the letter ends, "We write to ask you to do the right and responsible thing. Your jobs. Hunt news, not women."
Even as the debate continues on who's at fault and why the case still hasn't come to a close. Meanwhile, the NCB is investigating the case as Rhea has been accused of arranging drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput. The actress has also named Sara Ali Khan, Rakul Preet Singh and Simone Khambatta in connection to the case who are still being investigated.