Apurva Asrani, a filmmaker, expressed his support to Priyanka Chopra Jonas when she disclosed that she had left Bollywood due to a dispute with several prominent people in the business.
Asrani discusses how some families in the industry have an advantage in the market since they have been around for decades and are familiar with the audience, he said in an exclusive conversation with the Hindustan Times.
“Obviously they have their favourites and have every right to work with the ones they like. The problem is when they gang up to oust an actor or a technician from not just their movie, but from the entire ecosystem,” he said.
Asrani recalls seeing many big egos bruised when an actor turned down their project or quit due to artistic disagreements.
“Then these egos call other egos and tell them not to work with this person. They then use the media and powerful journalists to run campaigns to discredit this person. Blind articles are written by corrupt scribes who make damaging accusations. False stories are planted about inappropriate behaviour on set. If this actor/technician is resilient and continues to do good work,” reveals Asrani, pointing out how ones like Kartik Aaryan “thrived” despite the “vicious campaigns” against him.
The filmmaker describes how Priyanka was surrounded during a similar campaign against her in 2012. “She had given two big hits – Barfi and Agneepath – in just one year, but the front page of a city newspaper carried a headline saying that no hero wanted to work with her. They weren’t giving her due, she wasn’t able to grow as an actor and a star,” says Asrani, adding that Priyanka’s victory is also a victory for the entire populace, who are continuing to struggle against a primarily corrupt system.
“But Priyanka is not the first one to speak against the Bollywood mafias. Several other actors faced a similar treatment, and Asrani believes it happens to “anyone who is outspoken, who refuses to be disrespected, who doesn’t demean themselves by agreeing to their regressive ideas, they are pushed into a corner.”
“If you do your research, you will find that the ones labelled difficult and problematic are usually the outsiders,” he explains. Rarely are the celebrity kids trifled with.
The filmmaker believes there are many producers now “who play a fair game because they are not from dynasties and sincerely seek out talent over sycophancy” after realising he does not need to play this game to accomplish good work and move his base to Goa.
Before Priyanka, Asrani claims that Sushant Singh Rajput was another actor who attracted the attention of powerful individuals.
“Director Abhishek Kapoor has used a very apt term to describe what was done to Sushant. He called it ‘a systematic dismantling of a fragile mind’. It’s where they use the entire system to slowly ignore you, isolate you. Sushant was snubbed at awards, his last film may have done a whopping 100 crores but it was projected as a flop. He spoke intelligently, but they portrayed his words like he had mental issues. He was harangued right till the end and the worst part is, we could hardly see the truth. It was made to look like he had plum projects, but had an attitude problem,” he said.
(With Inputs from Hindustan Times)
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