Wait, So Now We’re Blaming Kangana Ranaut? Deepika Today. Ranveer Tomorrow.
Given how the SSR death case has increasingly morphed into one zooming in on Bollywood’s ostensible crimes, the tumbling out of big names looks set to continue over the next few weeks. Could this spell trouble for Ranveer Singh when already his wife Deepika Padukone is under scanner in drug nexus angle?
On 1 September 2020, Bollywood star and Bollywood-basher Kangana Ranaut tweeted, “requesting” actors Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Ayan Mukerji, Vicky Kaushik — actually it’s Vicky Kaushal — to offer their blood samples for drug tests, for there were rumours that they were “cocaine addicts”. Given that most of Miss Ranaut’s rants aren’t to be taken seriously, this one garnered no more attention than any of her other tiresome tweets.
Interestingly, Ranveer Singh, husband of Deepika Padukone, was the first name to be mentioned in the tweet. With Miss Padukone’s name cropping up in the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) probe into the drug nexus angle in Sushant Singh Rajput’s (SSR) death case, Ranveer Singh is perilously close to becoming the next suspect after Deepika.
Deepika Today, Ranveer Tomorrow?
Soon after alleged WhatsApp chats between Deepika Padukone asking for hash from her manager Karishma Prakash went viral, Ranveer Singh became the target of vicious trolls on social media. The actor’s outlandish dress sense and energetic, effervescent persona were attributed to his drug habit. Ranveer and Deepika were derided as the made-for-each-other couple after the revelation on drug nexus angle.
Aside from the sickeningly patriarchal insinuation — a wife can’t harbour habits independent of her husband’s — the trolls revealed the terrifying tendency to jump to conclusions without a kernel of evidence. The facts, after all, remain that Deepika Padukone was merely summoned by the NCB to be interrogated regarding her alleged drug-related chats. No formal charges have been framed so far. And all of this is part of an expanding investigation into the Bollywood-drug nexus, believed directly or indirectly responsible for SSR’s death.
Unfortunately, matters might not be confined to the trolls alone. Given how the Sushant Singh Rajput death case has increasingly morphed into one zooming in on Bollywood’s ostensible crimes, the tumbling out of big names looks set to continue over the next few weeks. And if it’s Deepika today, it may well be Ranveer tomorrow. Talent manager Jaya Saha, whose interrogation threw up several big names, has reportedly spoken of the involvement of four well-known male actors in the drug scandal. Though the names are yet to be made public, there’s no ruling out the chance of Ranveer Singh being one of them. Kangana said so too, remember?
Kangana Always Right?!
Rest assured that Kangana Ranaut’s apparent clairvoyance isn’t due to her yoga and “discipline”. It’s just that the lady happens to be on the right side of a narrative — pun intended — that paints Bollywood as a debauched, vice-ridden world that’s been unjustly closed to talented outsiders for far too long.
In this customized-to-break-hearts narrative, people like Kangana and SSR are the badly-treated interlopers who made it by virtue of their talent and hard work. Unfortunately, the latter’s journey was cut short by his untimely demise for which rich brat-dominated, drug-mafia controlled Bollywood must be held accountable. A chest-beating victim of Bollywood’s grave injustices, Kangana Ranaut is the face of this growing bandwagon that’s taking up the cudgels against the entitled, entrenched elites of Bollywood, telling them they’ve long wielded power and influence; their time is up.
In a way, what’s being attempted with Bollywood today is a replay of the upheaval that’s been unfolding in Indian politics since 2014: an aggressive, new order uprooting the old privileged one, said to be steeped in nepotism and corruption.
So, when Kangana Ranaut mentions Ranveer Singh and his alleged cocaine addiction, there is a good chance of him becoming the next “big fish” to be caught in the probe. The man is a big star, belongs to a well-connected film family — Ranveer Singh is a cousin of actor Sonam Kapoor – and what matters most, is the husband of an actor who committed the unpardonable folly of showing support for one of India’s most irrepressible symbols of dissent: the youth of JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University). Rewind to 7 January 2020.
The classic sitting duck. Bingo!
The End Isn’t Near
Now, for the facts on the ground. Along with actors Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, and Rakul Preet Singh, Deepika Padukone remains under the NCB scanner. Most recently, their mobile phones were seized as part of the probe into the alleged drug chats.
But concrete, incriminating evidence of Deepika Padukone — or any of the aforementioned actors — consuming or supplying drugs is yet to surface. The case could branch out in two directions from here.
Under Section 64 (A) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, drug addicts charged with consumption are exempt from prosecution if they choose to undergo treatment. So, if Deepika confesses to taking drugs, she could technically choose rehabilitation instead of jail time. In 2001, when actor Fardeen Khan was caught with a small quantity of cocaine, he had chosen to undergo a three-week de-addiction programme, and was subsequently not prosecuted.
But if Deepika admits to having procured drugs for commercial use or supplying to others — a remote possibility — she may have to undergo the prescribed punishment, which may include a prison sentence, fine, or both. But both possibilities are fairly distant at this point; WhatsApp chats or voice recording can only count as evidence when corroborated with proof of drug usage/selling.
So if, Ranveer Singh is indeed next on the NCB radar, and somehow found to be involved with drugs, the same would apply to him. Should we speculate around how his career might be affected? Perhaps not. There are too many ifs and buts hovering in the distance to think about that for now.
Interestingly, the NCB has failed to probe the BJP angle in the film industry-drug mafia nexus, despite the surfacing of allegations. There was no follow-up with regard to Sandip Singh, co-producer of Prime Minister Modi’s biopic, whose name came up in the drug cartel suspected to be involved in SSR’s death. Meanwhile, Aditya Alva, purportedly involved in the Karnataka sandalwood-drug racket case, remains untraceable.
Alva is the brother-in-law of Vivek Oberoi, Gujarat BJP star campaigner, lead actor and co-producer of the Modi biopic. Unsurprisingly, scarcely a whisper has been uttered with regard to Kangana Ranaut’s rumoured drug habit, despite the emergence of a video in which the actor speaks candidly of her former addiction.
There are so many wheels within the wheels. The perfect plot for a Bollywood thriller. Except that no one would dare make such a film.