Voices Anand Neelakantan Anuja Chandramouli S Vaidhyasubramaniam Ravi Shankar Sathya Saran Mata Amritanandamayi MAGAZINE Buffet People Wellness Books Food Art & Culture Entertainment NEW DELHI October 24 2021 SUNDAY PAGES 12 Star Dust and Drug Busts Aryan Khan with father Shah Rukh Khan Party drugs are not uncommon in Bollywood, nor are high profile arrests. What is new is a desire to ensure a more egalitarian and nationalistic film industry that sells a fresh narrative to the world. By Kaveree Bamzai H er eyes are glazed. Her manner distracted. Her bank accounts are frozen. She is in therapy Her father, a doctor, can’t find a job. One month in Mumbai’s Byculla . Jail on charges of supplying drugs to Sushant Singh Rajput has reduced her to a shadow of her once-ebullient self. That’s what prison can do to people. Actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son, Aryan, with time at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, has promised to make the Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) Sameer Wankhede proud of him once he gets out. His script may play out differently from Rhea. Already director Ram Gopal Varma has predicted that he will become a super-duper star, though so far the young man has shown no interest in an acting career, and the talk so far has been of writing or directing. But beyond the individual impact, Aryan’s arrest has forever blown the lid off Bollywood’s biggest open secret, the widespread use of party drugs. It is something IRS officer Wankhede has been tracking since last year when news broke of the late actor Rajput’s rumoured drug use during the investigation of his death. The Enforcement Directorate called in the NCB and they tracked celebrity WhatsApp chats to question several actors such as Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, and Rakul Preet Singh, as well as many associates of Rajput. Several others have been picked up in the ongoing investigation, including actor Armaan Kohli, comedienne Bharti Singh, and the brother of actor Arjun Rampal’s partner Gabriella Demetriades. Rampal, along with his model wife Mehr Jesia, was once a member of Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan’s exclusive party set. Several people have gone on record to speak of the party drugs in use in Bollywood, without naming names. Prime among them is actor Kangana Ranaut, who said on Twitter last year: “If NCB enters Bullywood many A listers will be behind bars if blood tests are conducted. Many shocking revelations will happen.” She had also requested Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Ayan Mukerji and Vicky Kaushal to take blood tests to bust rumours that they are cocaine addicts. She also spoke in an interview of a co-star who was hospitalised because of a drug overdose. “At that time, his girlfriend, who was a foreigner, used to be there with him. Every night there used to be parties and drugs used to flow like water.” She has even quite helpfully explained the drug nexus: stars, hoteliers, and club owners who get them what is needed. Darkened Windows, Discreet Bodyguards It’s a world of supercars with darkened windows, discreet bodyguards, parties that start at restaurants and clubs, and end up at private homes— and drivers who know everything. Not everyone is invited. In fact, an invite to these parties is as difficult to score as an invitation to Koffee with Karan, producer-director Karan Johar’s chat show. It also explains the entourages stars usually have. Given the extent of social media and prevalence of paparazzi, the users cannot be the Fardeen Khan’s arrest in 2001 and Sanjay Dutt’s continued drug use twinned with possession of an AK-47 saw two contrasting styles of parental handling. Feroz Khan let the law take its course with his son, while Sunil Dutt reached out to every politician of note. procurers or even the facilitators. It is inconceivable that actor Fardeen Khan would withdraw money from an ATM himself to buy cocaine, as he allegedly did in 2001. That is where secretaries— now called managers— sometimes step in. Sanjay Dutt’s former secretary Kaleem Khan was supposed to perform this role till he was dismissed by Manyata when she married the actor. Addiction is not new to the industry Geeta Dutt, . Guru Dutt, and Meena Kumari have romanced the bottle and succumbed to it. Cannabis came into the industry with the advent of graduates from the Film and Television Institute of India and the alternative art movement. Naseeruddin Shah was a self-confessed user of ganja and even wrote about it in his Turn to page 2
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