The Indian film industry’s image has taken quite a beating in recent times- first with accusations of nepotism and now with the allegations of drug usage among actors. While Sushant Singh Rajput’s death laid bare the links to Bollywood suppliers, the Kannada film industry is also reeling after heroines Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjanaa Galrani were held for links to the drug racket.
According to a young producer, Kollywood also has its share of drug users. “Bollywood is deeply entrenched with certain underworld figures, so drug kingpins manage to run their trade using Mumbai as a hub. And Bengaluru has followed Mumbai’s fast-paced culture, because it tried to replicate it. However, Chennai is a conservative city and people here have their own way of doing things. Stars here enjoy demi-god status and A-listers wouldn’t do anything that would tarnish their public image. But, the upcoming assistant directors and youngsters, who are new to the cinema industry are bringing in the culture of drug usage. If it isn’t controlled now, Kollywood might become a hub for drugs very soon,” he says.
An actor in his early 30s says, “There are no rave parties here and the usage of psychedelic drugs is very less. Maybe some people have been indulging in smoking weed because of the lockdown, but once the industry resumes, we will be busy signing films and working round the clock. No one has time for this here.” A film industry publicist says it’s not new, but it’s not rampant either. “This has been going on since the 80s. People don’t come to this industry and start using drugs. It is the other way round. The percentage remains the same today and doesn’t have any underworld links like Mumbai or Bengaluru. In fact, I think the Malayalam industry is more known for drugs and even drug abuse,” he adds.