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There is nothing new about drug zealots in film industry

Drugs, Narcotics, Film Industry, Bollywood, Tollywood, Charas, Ganja

The film industry which is known for its glory and glitter, but behind the scenes has many dark edges. From drug abuse to casting couch and nepotism the industry is cursed with many arrays. Meanwhile, one needs to really debate why these film personalities are abused by usage of drugs? Or why they fall into the trap of addiction? First of all, working under deadlines and huge expectations can generate a lot of stress. And then they are driven to succeed and will try no matter what. Also there is peer pressure and loneliness and lots of money available to numb the mind. And this is because a lot of artists are sensitive and emotional and fame is not a substitute for a loving relationship. Normal love and attachment goes out of the window due to bloated egos and careers. Eventually they need something to numb that stress and pain and some take to drugs for solace. Having become addicted to the life of fame and an expectation does not give them the chance to break free from addiction. It takes months and years of reflection and hard work to be free of addiction and requires focused effort.

The lifestyle of the rich and famous does not provide that. They do not have time to cure their addiction because their absence from work affects their chances and some other actor fills the space. They have to run away from all that and rediscover themselves to cure addiction. A lot of them strike a deal with the devil and they learn to live with the addiction. The devil slowly spreads to their entire being and they battle it every day. With addiction either you win the battle or the addiction wins over you. There is no middle ground with addiction. Also there is no such thing as “one slip” with addiction. You slip once and you will be right there on top. Some get lucky and will manage to overcome and stay away. A lot of them however will not be able to. This all will end in some kind of error or an overdose because not all days are good. Some days are very bad and when coupled with bad luck, it results in a mishap. And a life ends. When it comes to addiction it does not discriminate – it strikes everybody with the same force. As difficult as it is to imagine, celebrities lead rather stressful lives. Don’t get me wrong, they make considerable amounts of money, take frequent extended vacations all over the world, live in palatial estates, attend galas and red carpet awards shows, travel the world shooting films on location, and get paid to do what they love and what most of us would kill for. They are extremely entitled, spoiled, and relatively disconnected from us regular folk. And that’s where the actual problem lies.

Becoming a celebrity is an extremely difficult and lonely journey. Drastically everyone you knew changes and all of a sudden, everyone’s your friend and you don’t know whom to trust. Everyone wants a loan, a job, a car, a limo ride, etc. You begin to pull away and find you can only trust a very small group of people, perhaps your immediate family. Members of your extended family by this time are contacting you for favors. As everyone’s motives you suspect, its difficult to have faith and you gradually begin to pull away from everyone you know. Your hometown becomes difficult to travel in and as you get more famous and recognized, it becomes impossible to go out in public. You are hounded by autograph seekers and everyone wants their picture taken with you. Of course you’re flattered at first, and as they do pay your paycheck, you owe it to them. Over time, this gets to you. You can no longer go out to the bars and your hometown or visit places you once normally could. And so, you begin to spend all your time in house parties, boozes and drugs. For the famous in Bollywood it’s not easier to move freely and not get bothered. Since you are no longer close to your old friends or family, you begin to spend all of your time with other celebrities. They know what you’re going through, and can always relate. However, you begin to find yourself living in a tighter and tighter bubble. Even though it’s the industry and metro city, you still feel stifled as you can’t go out like you used to. You begin to fall in with the wrong crowd. Like many people in the arts, you suffer from some mental health problems. People with these disorders are frequently drawn to the arts, acting especially is at statistically higher rate than those who don’t suffer. Your depression and medicines make drug use risky, but you need to relax and escape the stress of the fame. It starts out with pot, but within a month or two, you’re shooting heroin, and finding yourself doing it nearly every day. The crowd of dealers got bored, and they haven’t come back for weeks. Now it’s just you shooting up by yourself.

The other big stress of the job is the constant threat you could lose it tomorrow. There is absolutely no job security as with a couple of bad movies in a row and you are history. You will realize that the phone doesn’t ring any more. Even with the fame that you have, you constantly have to hustle to get your agent to get you auditions for the latest films. The roles aren’t coming like they used to. Back when you got famous on that hit television show. Now you’re nearing 40, and the roles are drying up. You want to get rid of your manager, but you’re nervous about jumping ship. You’ve already been in multiple love affairs or in failed marriage and pay through the nose in alimony. The reviews for your last film were horrible and you knew that the role wasn’t right for you. You can’t help but fear your career going down the drain, and then what? You realize you’re spinning out of control, and the drugs are the only thing keeping you together. You take more and more and stop taking auditions. You order everything in now and rarely leave the house. One night, you nod off in the hot tub and nearly drown to death. But sadly, you still don’t learn.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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