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Drug scandal could further delay Bollywood revival

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NEW DELHI: Allegations of drug abuse against prominent actors may just be the last nail in the coffin of Bollywood which has been battling a barrage of controversy since the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June and the nepotism debate that followed. The attacks only exacerbated problems for the industry, which recorded no theatrical sales for the past six months, with box office losses of nearly 3000 crore, several projects stalled at various stages of production and millions of job cuts amid the covid-19 pandemic.

Experts in the media and entertainment industry have said that while Bollywood has never been regarded as a moral hotbed, recent incidents may have heightened the disillusionment of India’s middle class with the nation. industry. A recent survey by the Indian Institute of Human Marks found that 82% of young people in the 18-30 cohort said celebrity drug abuse made them untrustworthy and that they would not buy a brand endorsed by such a celebrity.

The allegations of toxicity, debauchery and incitement to suicide have sparked strong backlash against the Hindi film industry on social media and triggered hashtags like Boycott Bollywood.

The outrage over Rajput’s death has not spared actors, studio heads, PR agencies or even movie critics. With the exception of a few genuinely concerned individuals, the general public is licking the current rumor around the death of Sushant Singh Rajput as if it were a spicy soap opera rather than a real life tragedy. This is not surprising since the public has, for generations, gleefully consumed celebrity gossip, while widely assuming with disdain and envy that the stars adhere to a different moral code than the rest of society “, Anna MM Vetticad, journalist and author of The Adventures of a Fearless Film Critic said.

Unfortunately, the story of Rajputs has shifted from gossip magazines to prime-time movies to mainstream news television and has been politicized.

The public is bombarded with information 24/7 by a combination of the news media and the ruling party’s giant propaganda machine that cleverly plays on the pervasive social biases evident in Rhea’s misogynistic coverage. Chakraborty for a program far removed from justice for Sushant, “Vetticad told me.

Obviously, 2020 has been tough for Bollywood. And while there aren’t any theatrical releases to prove whether people will put their money where their mouths are, this trailer for actor Alia Bhatts Sadak 2 has become the second most hated video of all. the times on YouTube is a clear manifestation of the fact that there could be serious business implications in the coming days.

Outrage could be much worse when the films of these stars hit theaters, with some exhibitors anticipating some chaos, particularly around Salman Khans Radhe, due in early 2021. However, given how forgiving audiences have been in The past for actors like Khan who have even been incarcerated, the broader belief is that the film industry thrives not on social media conversations, but on stories. The 3-4% of the Indian population who watch movies in theaters have never cared about the pop culture debate.

The real challenge for Bollywood, as it always has been, will be getting people to come to the movies, ”said Nikhil Taneja, co-founder and CEO of Yuvaa Originals, a media, research and entertainment organization. impact for young people based in Mumbai who has worked with several companies like MTV and Yash Raj Films in the past. He said that after the pandemic, it would be difficult to get people, who have become accustomed to the comfort of watching new movies and series at home, to brave traffic, reach theaters, buy expensive tickets, popcorn and drinks, sit for three hours with the commercials and intervals interrupted, and pay for dinner afterwards. It’s a huge investment of time, money and energy, Taneja said.

One of the challenges Bollywood is looking at is the loss of family audiences in small towns over the past few years as it has increasingly begun to serve the needs of urban and multiplex millennials. The problem with Bollywood is that it has stopped producing enough universal content. It must increasingly serve the pan-Indian instead of being limited to subways, ”said independent exhibitor Vishek Chauhan.

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