Journalist Jyoti Yadav, in her latest op-ed titled “Sushant Singh Rajput and the burden of being a ‘Shravan Kumar’ in toxic Bihari families” wrote about how the actor’s family reacted to their son’s death.
Yadav wrote in her piece that Sushant was a happy-go-lucky person and the mental illness only turned up once his girlfriend and actress Rhea Chakraborty walked into his life. “Such families have only one view of their son — he is never depressed, never makes mistakes, never gets bullied, and never marries outside the family’s choice,” she stated.
To summarise, Yadav pointed out how Sushant’s family was of the thinking that a girlfriend or wife separates the family from the son. That Rhea was never the ideal ‘bahu material’ because she didn’t wear a ‘salwar’. Not to mention how a Bong girl practices ‘Kaala Jadu’ (black magic).
All of this led to Sushant’s brother-in-law Vishal Kirti penned down a blog post responding to the op-ed.
This is a preposterous generalization on many levels. Let’s start with Sushant. Many people know that Sushant dated Ankita for at least six years and they lived together for a good portion of that relationship. People have seen great pictures of Ankita and Sushant’s family together and almost everyone knows that some members of Sushant’s family, including my wife, are in constant touch with Ankita.
Sushant then presumably dated Kriti (Sanon) (although he did not explicitly mention that they were dating, so they might be just very good friends) and the last time we met him in July 2017, Kriti met with us as well. We were fond of Kriti too.
This is where Jyoti’s stereotypical “toxic Bihari family” trope gets debunked. The FIR didn’t say that my father-in-law couldn’t stand Ankita. He actually adored Ankita and even stayed over in Mumbai with Ankita and Sushant. The FIR mentions one specific person called Rhea and giving it an anti-feminist flare is toxic journalism.
Moving on to my family. I am from Bihar as well and my parents don’t have any toxic attitude towards my wife, who was also my girlfriend for nearly four years before I got married and we have been married for thirteen years.
Moving on to the state of Bihar in general. There are millions of well-educated middle-class families in Bihar where there is no toxic attitude towards their son’s girlfriends and spouses. I am sure there are some families with these attitudes but taking the experiences of some and painting it with a broad brush is another toxic journalism masterstroke. This perpetuates false narratives and incorrect stereotypes about families from Bihar and is cringeworthy and outright disgusting.
Finally, let’s talk about the familial disconnect
Let me give you a perspective about human relationships Jyoti Yadav. A grown man can decide independently to distance himself from a toxic environment but a grown man can also be pressurized to distance himself from a healthy environment if there are enough incentives for the pressurizer and there are enough limitations on the part of the pressurized. Giving the FIR an anti-women color is not going to help women Jyoti Yadav. This FIR is anti-Rhea and not anti-women and let it be proven in the court of law if it stands the ground.
Sushant was found hanging at his residence in Bandra on June 14. Rhea has been accused of abetment to suicide and money laundering among other charges in an FIR filed by the late actor's father KK Singh.