The Sushantification of News

Prime time is a battlefield of mythological proportions as ex-colleagues and former friends take on each other on the breaking news front.

Published: 06th September 2020 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2020 05:22 PM   |  A+A-

Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput

Late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput (Photo | PTI)

There’s been a death but no one is ready to say RIP. Definitely not TV channels and journalists, and the whole media machinery who are looking at an actor’s death as so many frozen meals in the fridge. Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s departure is turning into one of those movies with endless sequels; every day there’s a new twist in the tale.

Prime time is a battlefield of mythological proportions as ex-colleagues and former friends take on each other on the breaking news front. If one ran an interview with The Girlfriend, another thundered she be arrested pronto because of a possible recorded phone chat where she may have contradicted herself on the murder/suicide theory, and yet another had a journalist interrupting live telecast to flaunt a bag full of documents that were going to be made public.

Soon we were glued to gruesome photos straight from the death scene itself, with close-ups of the marks around the late actor’s neck and his slightly exposed belly, which may or may not have been bloated, look, look.

Combining as it does elements of conspiracy and psychological complexities, with dramatis personae made up of family and friends and perhaps the whole film industry, the shrieking question of the year is not if this was a murder or suicide.

By now that is beside the point; we pretty much just want the gory details. What everyone is ignoring is the real question: are we the audience being played in what could be a grand plot hatched by the media or are we more mentally ill than we previously thought?  

They have plugged into our deepest fear, that of missing out, of being caught napping. As we ask each other the latest details in this tragic, tragic story—playing out as if in episodes with multiple sub-plots—and argue on points we grandly make from our own prejudices and poor grasp on matters, there is a danger of the audience projecting its own sense of an ending.

From the familiar way the late actor’s sisters are called didi by everyone on the social media as well as by well-known reporters to our tender professions of true love to someone we knew not, he is obviously filling a gap.

We promise him justice because he plays the role of a brother, son or boyfriend in our lives. A certain personal lack determines the level of passion with which we track this story. We are all Peter Sellers telling the driver, 'follow that car', who then takes off without us.Just in case you have nobly kept yourself away from all this cacophony, with pretensions of impartiality or indifference, this story is not going away anywhere in a hurry. Tune in at your leisure.

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