Photographs of visibly disturbed and irritated Rhea Chakraborty struggling her way out of the prying reporters hounding her with cameras and microphones emerged on Sunday. With raised elbows, Rhea tried to keep away the reporters from getting near her, even as security personnel struggled to push away the media. The only time we see women walk with raised elbows is in crowded buses and trains to keep away unwanted hands and abusive touches.
However, this crowd was supposed to be of journalists, who we assume must have had classes in ethics, sensitivity and sensibility while reporting from the most unwelcoming situations. But ever since Rhea’s name emerged in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide case, the witch-hunt has only intensified against the actress. The crowd of reporters hounding her on Sunday was a manifestation of what is being debated and discussed on prime time shows for more than a month now.
A collage of Rhea being hounded by media and that of actor Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan are doing rounds on social media. While Rhea is literally left to fend for herself in the image, Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan are seen flanked by police personnel, walking with as much ease as they would walk to an award function or gala night.
The reaction to the image has been on expected lines. While one section is calling out the gender discrimination, the other group is busy flipping the facts to accuse and abuse Rhea.
Thank u for this Post. If this does not expose the “Dysfunction” in Indian society, nothing ever will 🙌 We made a movie glorifying one of the criminal portraying him as a lost soul but the Woman in the picture has been made out to be Cruella even before the trials. Wth!
— Queen 🐝_Stings 🇮🇳 (@wakeupbeforend) September 7, 2020
Yeah…even dutt and khan’s crime were proved still people wanted them to get bail..Here she is just an accused and people are already treating her as some sort of terrorist
— Susmita Dash (@SusmitaDash11) September 7, 2020
The point of this is the way men vs women are treated, not that rhea is the same as the other two..
— Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) September 7, 2020
Such stark difference in the two scenarios makes us wonder if the media trial against Rhea comes from a place of misogyny and sexism. It indeed does. Sanjay Dutt faced charges in 1993 Mumbai serial blast case, while Salman Khan was accused in a hit and run case and a case of Blackbuck poaching in Jodhpur. No cameras chased the two men as they faced trial.
On the other hand, Rhea is facing investigation from CBI, ED and the NCB. Prime time shows have already declared her a culprit. Social media campaigns are perpetually running a smear campaign against her. Back when Salman Khan faced charges in the hit and run case, the opposite happened. People glorified him, his charity work was used to justify that he shouldn’t face arrest. On the contrary, every personal detail of Rhea’s life is being fished out to project her as a murderer. If it is not about gender then what is it?
Cameras have invaded Rhea’s private space. A company of reporters is deployed 24*7 outside her home and everyone from the watchman to the delivery boy and any random person living in her vicinity have been hounded with questions. On news channel did not even shy away from zooming in the camera into her living room to show what the family was watching on the television.
No one knows how that is going to help solve the case.
Her “Imma bounce” text to a friend was shown on a news show and it was said that Rhea was talking about a bounced cheque. Tongues clicked as they condemned the “gold-digger” Rhea. However, to much embarrassment of the boomers in the newsrooms, it was realised that the phrase is slang for “I am leaving”.
READ: Dear Boomers in TV Newsrooms, Here’s What ‘Imma Bounce’ Really Means
Rhea’s brother Showik has been arrested in a drug case. She is being questioned every day by one or the other probe agency. “Congratulations India, you have arrested my son, I’m sure next on the line is my daughter n I dont know who is next thereafter. You have effectively demolished a middle class family. But of course for the sake of justice everything is justified. Jai hind,” Rhea’s father Indrajit Chakraborty said after his son’s arrest.
Lately, prime time news anchors seem to have invested all their resources on the case. Rhea has been accused of doing ‘black magic’. She has been called a ‘gold-digger’ and a ‘drug addict’. None of the allegations have been made by the investigating agencies. So, it’s sufficient to say all the allegations were made without an iota of evidence.