"I have been through my own journey of pain, it can be very dark and lonely," wrote Vivek Oberoi
Bollywood Actor Vivek Oberoi, one of the handful of film fraternity members who attended Sushant Singh Rajput's funeral on Monday, took the opportunity for some plain-speaking directed at his colleagues. In a note that he shared on his Instagram account, Mr Oberoi called on Bollywood to "b***h less and care more, less power play and more grace and large-heartedness."
His words echo those of a small but powerful chorus of industry voices that have been raised against what has been variously described as "the Bollywood Privilege club" and "gatekeepers of Bollywood" - the camps and cliques that the film industry is notorious for and by which power is wielded by a select and elite group of insiders. "This needs to truly become a family, a place where talent is nurtured and not crushed," Vivek Oberoi wrote.
Sushant Singh Rajput, who was found dead at home in Mumbai on Sunday, allegedly felt shut out of Bollywood's inner circles despite his obvious talent and several screen successes. Vivek Oberoi never worked with Sushant Rajput but appears to have felt some kinship with him. And so he attended his funeral. In his note, Oberoi wrote, "I've been through my own journey of pain, it can be very dark and lonely."
Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide, police say. He was 34. In his note, Vivek Oberoi wrote, "When I saw his father today, having to light the fire at the cremation, the pain in his eyes was unbearable. When I heard his sister weeping, begging him to come back, I can't express how deeply tragic it felt."
Vivek Oberoi has been trending on Twitter for two days straight now. Social media has called out certain members of the film fraternity for sharing seemingly grief-stricken tributes to Sushant Singh Rajput while having been less than pleasant to him when alive; filmmaker Karan Johar and actress Alia Bhatt have been singled out for criticism for having spoken dismissively about Mr Rajput on Koffee With Karan, onto which the actor was never invited.
Vivek Oberoi's name cropped up in connection to Salman Khan who also shared a post after Sushant Singh Rajput's death and has been accused by social media of hypocrisy - Mr Khan, one of Bollywood's most powerful stars, destroyed Vivek Oberoi's career, Twitter alleges. In 2003, Mr Oberoi called a press conference alleging that Salman Khan made threatening phone calls to him. Vivek Oberoi was then an up-and-coming star, with Company, Saathiya and Yuva behind him. In the next few years, he was cast in notable projects such as Omkara, Krrish 3 and Shootout At Lokhandwala; however, Mr Oberoi has mostly been relegated to smaller films in the recent years - his last Hindi film was a biopic of PM Narendra Modi in which he played the lead.
The word "hypocrisy" was used by actor Nikhil Dwivedi in a blistering attack on the film industry. Bollywood has also been strongly called out by director Anubhav Sinha and actor Ranvir Shorey.
The pictures from Sushant Singh Rajput's funeral proved the point that Vivek Oberoi, Ranvir Shorey and others have made - not one of the many A-listers who shared tributes on Social media to Mr Rajput attended; apart from Mr Oberoi, the handful of other fraternity members who did attend included Sushant Singh Rajput's co-stars Kriti Sanon, Shraddha Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma, and director Abhishek Kapoor who cast him in his debut film Kai Po Che! But no big star or Producer attended the funeral who so called gave sympathy on Twitter and Instagram.
Sushant Singh Rajput shot to fame with Balaji Telefilms' TV soap Pavitra Rishta. His body of work includes films such as Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Sonchiriya, Raabta and Kedarnath. His last movies were Chhichhore and the Netflix film Drive.