The covid-19 pandemic hit the world hard. The economy took its hardest blow when businesses were shut abruptly due to pandemic led lockdown resulting in massive daily losses. Bollywood industry, in the first of its kind incident, saw the similar blow with theatres, cinema halls being shut down and movies being delayed to curb the pandemic spread. The entire film industry was under the lens of netizens and TV news channels for nepotism and drug tales.
Actor-filmmaker Arbaaz Khan was also subjected to massive online trolling among others. The actor opened up about the impact of online abuse and trolling that Bollywood was subjected to. Not only did the artists suffer professionally but psychologically too, said Arbaaz Khan. It is a difficult place for us to be in mentally. Abuses, trolls come in like a wave, there is no explanation to where exactly it has begun from. When such a kind of backlash emerges–for something we have no clue and devastation that comes along the way leaves us asking “For What”? You fail to understand what is this bandwagon that people have jumped onto suddenly? Last one and one-and-a-half years were ridiculous to me, the actor added.
Speaking about how trolling ruins a lot of people, he said, “What were they trying to achieve and who were trying to run down so fiercely”? They ruined the lives of a lot of people. Those who could keep their necks about the water did survive. But, if they (trollers) had their way, they would have pushed people’s heads down and drowned them. These days, nobody talks about the psychological and professional damage most people suffered from these accusations and trolling. What is the point of having courts in the country when people are having trials in the media?
Social media platforms and even mainstream news channels accused Bollywood of being a center of drug abuse. Post that, 34 leading Bollywood producers (Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, Salman Khan Films and Aamir Khan Productions and Arbaaz Khan Productions) approached the Delhi High Court, seeking to restrain certain news channels from making irresponsible and defamatory remarks and conducting media trials against its members.
Arbaaz Khan said the social media trolling and abuse didn’t look organic. Looked as if it was organised to bring Bollywood people down. There was no truth and people went on abusing actors without any solid proof.
Till now there were only two professions that were highly regarded- cricket and acting. Cricketers and stars remained protected. Cricketers still enjoy the protection while stars are demystified. It’s like a campaign running against the stars. The lies about artistes were fed so intensely, to an extent that even their relatives would call to ask them if this was indeed the “truth”. “We started getting calls from our relatives/friends asking if something written about someone is true and we have to laugh it off. Even my name was dragged into it. People would call up and ask, ‘Did Arbaaz do that?’ Then you realise people do take all these things seriously,” he added.