The open letter by Producers Guild of India

Guwahati: “The tragic death of a promising young star has been by some as a tool to defame and slander the film industry and its members,” says the open letter by the Producers Guild Of India.

The letter is in response to the relentless media coverage following the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. Bollywood nepotism, lobbying, drug cartel, and many more negative stories have been the burning topic for various media organisations.

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“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,” added the letter.

Stating that like any other sector, even the film industry no doubt has its own set of imperfections. But to paint an entire industry with the same brush is nothing but a gross misrepresentation of reality added the letter.

Ronnie Lahiri producer of successful movies like Gulabo Sitabo, Sardar Udham Singh, Pink and Vicky Donor took to facebook to write, “I grew up in #Shillong and came to #mumbai with no connections with the film industry yet I/us got the opportunity to build our careers,get a better life and tell the kind of stories we believed in. Of course one had to put in the hard work and give years to hone our talents. Today I’d like to stand by my industry which has given me and a lot of people from small towns a platform and chance to dream.”

Facebook post by producer Ronnie Lahiri

The letter went on to state that the industry employs hundreds of thousands of people, boosts travel and tourism and is one of the most important sources of soft power for India across the world. The industry has entertained hundreds of millions of people for over a century and has brought joy, honour and glory to the nation. “It has welcomed and embraced talent from across the country – from the worlds of literature, poetry, art and music and has drawn them in to create a unique cinematic language. This has ensured that we are one of the few countries in the world to still have a vibrant and thriving local film industry across multiple languages, despite the decades-long onslaught of Hollywood,” it said.

The guild also expresses the fact they cannot negate the personal experiences of anyone and also accepts that many of those entering the business and seeking to establish themselves have faced numerous hardships and disappointments. However, this is no different from the obstacles faced by any new entrants in a given field. Be it politics, law, media, business or even medicine.

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The letter also tackles the issue of the film industry not allowing new talents from the outside to thrive. This according to them is nothing but a false narrative, “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 pathbreaking work, which has defined – and then redefined – Indian cinema.”

The letter is also an open declaration to all aspirants to not be misled by “clickbait journalism” as the film industry ultimately rewards talents, work ethic and ability to connect with the audience. This is regardless of the religion, gender, caste or economic strata.

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“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,” the letter added.

The reaction also came in the time when actor Kangana Ranaut alleged on social media that about “99%” of Bollywood’s A-listers are under the influence of hard drugs. Additionally the CBI’s probe into the matter and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) taking custody of Rhea’s brother Showmik today fanned the flames of misinterpretation a bit higher.

Many members of the film fraternity showed their support to this open letter including actor Sonam Kapoor.

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