After months of allegations the existence of a 'movie mafia', a 'drug nexus' and the Hindi film industry being an out and out discriminatory place, the Producers Guild of India wrote an open letter addressing the slander of the industry in the media.
The Guild slammed the media for exploiting the death of Sushant Singh Rajput to boost their ratings, readership and page views.
The letter acknowledged that the film industry is an imperfect place like any other, and stressed on the need for a constant effort to improve it. However, it asserted that dismissing the entire industry as a terrible place is not an accurate representation of reality at all.
The open letter received resounding support from the Hindi film industry. Kareena Kapoor Khan, Dia Mirza, Zoya Akhtar, Hansal Mehta, Ram Gopal Varma, Nimrat Kaur, Vikramaditya Motwane, Richa Chadha, Farhan Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Nikkhil Advani, Riteish Deshmukh, Bipasha Basu, Abhishek Bachchan and others shared the open letter with the hashtag #InSolidarity.
"The last few months have seen relentless attacks on the reputation of the Indian film industry across all media. The tragic death of a promising young star has been used by some as a tool to defame and slander the film industry and its members. 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. But it is not the truth," read the letter.
It continued, "Like any other sector there is no doubt that the film industry has its imperfections, and there must always be an ongoing attempt by any industry to improve upon itself, learn and evolve, while weeding out unsavoury elements or improper practices that hold it back. But to paint an entire industry with the same brush is a gross misrepresentation of reality."
The letter drew attention to the immense and immeasurable contributions of the film industry to the Indian economy, culture, art, entertainment, and support in times of crises.
Not dismissing the negative experiences shared by artists, the letter said, "We do not negate the personal experiences of anyone from the industry, and undoubtedly many of those entering the business and seeking to establish themselves have faced numerous hardships, struggles and disappointments in the course of building a career here."
"However, a concerted effort has been made to single out the film industry as one that specifically inhibits and prohibits new talent from the outside from thriving. This could not be further from the truth. 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 path breaking work, which has defined - and then redefined - Indian cinema," it said.
Acknowledging nepotism, it said "Being born into the industry most definitely affords you the privilege of access and a first break, but after that it is up to each individual's talent, hard work and drive to propel them forward." It went on to add that while it is more difficult for outsiders to get their foot in the door, it is not impossible and the success stories of numerous artists rising to great heights are testament to the fact.
The letter concluded, "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. Members of the industry on both sides of this debate, especially women, have been subjected to rape threats and death threats. This is unacceptable and must stop now."
It urged the media to 'stop fanning the flames' and show 'human decency'.