Kareena Kapoor Khan has come out in support of the film industry after the Producers Guild of India countered the allegations levelled against Bollywood. In an open letter, the producers guild said that the portrayal of the industry as hostile to outsiders and a ‘murky den of substance abuse and criminality’ is incorrect. Kareena took to Instagram stories to share the note and wrote, “With my industry.” Others including Bipasha Basu, Nimrat Kaur, Hansal Mehta, Ram Gopal Varma and Dia Mirza also expressed solidarity with the film industry.
“The last few months have seen relentless attacks on the reputation of the Indian film industry across all media. The tragic death of a promising young star has been used by some as a tool to defame and slander the film industry and its members. A picture has been painted of the industry as a terrible place for outsiders to aspire to; a place that treats those who dare to enter it with contempt and derision; a murky den of substance abuse and criminality. This narrative is salacious enough for the media to exploit to great effect in order to boost its ratings, readership and page views. But it is not the truth,” the letter said.
With the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, Bollywood has come under increased scrutiny. It has been alleged that a ‘movie mafia’ exists, and that it calls the shots and decides whom to promote and whose career to destroy. Questions were raised about the practice of nepotism and why star kids get preferential treatment as compared to deserving ‘outsiders’. Recently, Kangana Ranaut also claimed that an overwhelming majority of people in the film industry are drug users.
“Like any other sector there is no doubt that the film industry has its imperfections, and there must always be an ongoing attempt by any industry to improve upon itself, learn and evolve, while weeding out unsavoury elements or improper practices that hold it back. But to paint an entire industry with the same brush is a gross misrepresentation of reality,” the producers’ association wrote in the letter.
The guild drew attention to how the film industry generates employment for lakhs and has ‘welcomed and embraced talent from across the country’. The industry has also contributed generously to national causes in times of need, the letter added.
“We do not negate the personal experiences of anyone from the industry, and undoubtedly many of those entering the business and seeking to establish themselves have faced numerous hardships, struggles and disappointments in the course of building a career here,” the letter said, adding that the same happens across professions.
The producers guild urged those eyeing a career in films to not be ‘misled by the clickbait journalism’ that portrays the industry as an awful place to work. “However, a concerted effort has been made to single out the film industry as one that specifically inhibits and prohibits new talent from the outside from thriving. This could not be further from the truth. There are scores of talented actors, directors, writers, musicians, cinematographers, editors, sound designers, production designers, costume designers, art directors and numerous other film professionals across multiple disciplines who have had absolutely no connection to the industry, but who have flourished and produced inspiring and path breaking work, which has defined – and then redefined – Indian cinema,” the letter said.
Addressing the subject of nepotism, the producers guild said, “Being born into the industry most definitely affords you the privilege of access and a first break, but after that it is up to each individual’s talent, hard work and drive to propel them forward,” adding that while it is ‘undoubtedly more difficult for those on the outside to get that first chance to display their talent’, there were enough success stories of outsiders to prove that it was not impossible.
“These are difficult times for our country and the world, so rather than venting our fears and frustrations on each other with vile and vicious trolling, it is more important than ever to come together instead of tearing each other apart. Members of the industry on both sides of this debate, especially women, have been subjected to rape threats and death threats. This is unacceptable and must stop now,” the letter said, urging the media to ‘stop fanning the flames’ and show ‘common human decency’.
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