Amid a raging controversy over drug use in the film industry in connection with a probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Samajwadi Party MP and veteran actor Jaya Bachchan on Tuesday slammed all those who have been calling the Mumbai-based entertainment industry a "gutter".
Though Bachchan did not take any names, her remarks come a day after BJP's Lok Sabha MP and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan said there was problem of drug addiction in the film industry and also actor Kangana Ranaut's recent remarks calling Bollywood a "gutter".
Through a Zero Hour mention in Rajya Sabha, Bachchan said the entertainment industry was being flogged by social media and asked the government to protect and support it.
Without taking names, the Samajwadi Party MP said she completely disagrees with those who called the entertainment industry a "gutter".
"People who have made a name in this industry have called it a gutter. I completely disagree and I really disassociate," she said.
In a reference to Kishan's statement in Lok Sabha on the alleged Bollywood drug cartel, Bachchan said she was "really embarrassed and ashamed." "Jis thali mein khate hai Usme chhed karte hai. Galat baat hai," she said referring to a popular Hindi proverb that means to bite the hands that feed you.
"I was really embarrassed and ashamed that yesterday (September 14) one of our members in the Lok Sabha, who is from the industry, spoke. I am not taking names. It is a shame," she said.
Now, an old video of Abhishek Bachchan expressing his views on the consumption of drugs in India, and how to stop it has been doing rounds on social media. Watch the video below.
Jaya said the entertainment industry in the country provides direct employment to 5 lakh people daily and indirect employment to 5 million people.
"At a time when the financial situation is in a depressing state and employment rate at the worst levels, in order to divert the attention of people, we are being flogged by social media" and there is no support from the government, she said.
Bachchan said the government should come forward and support the entertainment industry.
"I hope the government tells these people who have made their earning, name and fame in this industry to stop using such language," she said.
"There are people in the entertainment industry who are some of the highest taxpayers (in the country). They are still being harassed," she said.
The government, she said, must stand by the entertainment industry.
"I think the government must stand by the entertainment industry because it always comes forward to help the government in whatever good work it takes up. They come and speak for them, they support them. If there is a national calamity, they come forward, they give money and their services," she said.
"I think it is very very important that the government must support this industry and not kill it. Just because there are few people, you cannot tarnish the image of the entire industry," she said, adding the industry brings international name and recognition besides a base for political ambitions.
She went on to say that all kinds of promises are made to the entertainment industry but it has never got its due.
"Sir, I get very worked up and very emotional. I have too many things to say but you are not giving me enough time and opportunity," she told Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
"I need protection, the industry needs the protection and support of the government," she added.
With inputs from Agencies