How Sushant Singh Has Emerged As Bollywood's Voice Of Reason In Recent Times

Sushant Singh has rapidly earned quite a large fan-following in recent times, by fearlessly voicing his opinions, no matter what the outcome.

For the longest time, the viewers of Savdhaan India, a show based on real-life crime, tuned in to be greeted by a familiar face. Sushant Singh, a host, who manages to rise above the exploitative nature of the “dramatic recreation of real-life situations” nature of the show. He brought a sense of indignation and restraint to the proceedings. But on December 16, things changed.

Singh shared a tweet saying: “and my stint with Savdhaan India has ended.” Incidentally, Singh had attended the anti-CAA protests in Mumbai only a day before that. There have been plenty of murmurs since of how Singh was punished for being explicit about his political stance, or how Singh’s contract was already up for completion… which hadn’t been renewed. Talking to the Indian Express back then, Singh said that he wasn’t given any reason for his contract being terminated.

One of Singh’s breakout roles was that of Sukhdev in Rajkumar Santoshi’s The Legend Of Bhagat Singh. While his Twitter feed has commended him for standing up for what he believes in, he responded by calling it a ‘small price’. Like he was still in character for Santoshi’s 2002 film.

Those who remember Singh as Sukhdev, won’t be surprised by the speculation around his dismissal from the show. “Sometimes we’re the exact opposite of the character we’re playing. That’s the whole nature of acting… isn’t it?”, Singh adds with a laugh.

Having earned a good amount of Twitter following for fearlessly speaking his mind on the recent anti-CAA protests, Singh even took on Jaggi Vasudev recently, after one of his Isha Foundation clips used a thumbnail image with Singh’s face on it.

He shared the screenshot saying that if Jaggi Vasudev’s foundation was going to showcase his face on promotional material, perhaps they should also look into the scathing review he left for their course.

Excerpts from InUth’s conversation with him:

I saw your reply to Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation…

In my tweet I haven’t criticised the programme or him. It didn’t work for me, nor for my wife. We paid a hefty sum as it was a select gathering. We didn’t like the approach, or the environment. And we made ourselves pretty clear in their log-book that we found the whole thing very commercial and marketing-oriented. It didn’t seem very spiritual, and then somebody sent me a screenshot about how they were using my picture. Do you really want to advertise a dissatisfied customer?

Did you get some clarity on the matter whether you were let-go from Savdhaan India for attending the anti-CAA protests?

I have filed an official complaint with CINTAA. We’re waiting for a meeting to take place.

Like you’ve spoken out very clearly, even Deepika Padukone’s presence at a gathering became a big deal recently…

Yeah, some people alleged that the reason I was speaking out, when I did, was to promote my web-series Rangbaaz: Phir Se… which was nearing release. Very few people told me… of course, I’m not as big as Deepika. But compared to me – the kind of abuse that Swara (Bhasker), Richa (Chadha) and Anurag (Kashyap) have to deal with… is incredible. People don’t troll me as much.

The debate has transcended CAA, NRC to Deepika going to JNU and Chhapaak, hasn’t it?

We need to remember the facts that Deepika Padukone didn’t issue any statement against CAA+NRC. She met Aishe (Ghosh), and the students who had been brutalised by a mob, so I don’t see anything wrong with that. I mean she’s not under any pressure to give any statement. Students have been beaten up within the four walls of a campus, while the police stood around without doing anything to stop it. If a person, who has a standing in society, expresses solidarity with those beaten up… I don’t see why it should create a furore like this. She didn’t say anything about the government, or anything else.

There have been reports about what Chhapaak is facing – fake reviews on Bookmyshow, downvoted on IMDB. There’s almost like a machinery working against the film…

But we all know that, right? A certain section of our society is continuously working towards things like this. But have you heard whether a film’s IMDB rating hampering their box office? It’s a good movie, it will work yaar. If it’s not a good movie it won’t. Look at Housefull 4, not a single good review. But it made money at the box office. Every movie has its viewer.

Do you think the whole Deepika Padukone episode will deter other young actors to come forward and speak their mind?

I don’t think so. If she got brickbats for coming forward, there were many who also appreciated her. Anybody who is a part of the public life, it’s a part and parcel. People will love you, people will hate you. Whenever anyone takes a stand, they are prepared for every eventuality. The younger generation has been more enterprising about fighting the fight. I’m not going to comment on who’s right and who’s wrong. It has to be debated. Right now, no debate is happening. Both sides are being abusive towards each other, whoever is protesting is being beaten up. What is the point of this?

What do you have to say about celebrities like Jaggi Vasudev and Juhi Chawla coming out and speaking in support of CAA?

I’ve not seen the video where Juhi Chawla says it, but from what I’ve read she’s apparently phrased it as ‘government’ instead of ‘country’. If that’s her understanding of the situation then it’s unfortunate. However, there’s no point criticising her for it, because it is not about Juhi Chawla’s opinion, or for that matter even my opinion.

Talk about how ‘we shouldn’t ask what the government can do for us, instead see what we’re doing’ – as far as my understanding goes it is our right/duty to vote. But it is also our duty to ask questions of the govt for the next five years. If we’re dissatisfied with something… it’s our right to criticise the govt. You’ve been elected to serve the country, not the other way round. Whoever governs the country, is answerable to us… they’re answerable to the law. If you think we’ve done something wrong by posing questions, feel free to pull us up by taking us to court.