After actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his Bandra residence in Mumbai, reports claimed that the actor had been suffering from depression because of professional setbacks engineered by nepotism in Bollywood.
The film industry has been traditionally guilty of promoting family raj at the expense of outsiders. Rajput was a promising actor without being an A-lister or having a godfather in Mumbai. The infinitely bigger developing story of the same period was the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rajput died on June 14, a period in time when the dreaded virus had been infecting unsuspecting people the world over, including India.
Two and a half months later, India is among the worst-hit nations in the world.
Each new day is the forerunner of bad news with thousands falling sick and many dying a few days after getting infected. The nation’s economy has hurtled towards a big crash with the GDP shrinking by 23.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2020-21.Lakhs of Indians have experienced job losses, among them daily wage earners whose lives are a struggle for survival even under normal circumstances.
Troubled by the news of sickness and deaths, faced with the possibility or reality of unemployment, and aware that there is no reliable vaccine and well-defined route of treatment, many are doing what they can to protect themselves from the wrath of the virus.
Other ‘brave’ ones who are being inexplicably reckless are not only more susceptible to the illness, but the infected ones among them are also guilty of spreading it among those taking precautionary measures. The presence of such irresponsible individuals is a significant worry for the Indian society.
Given a choice between continuous coverage of the pandemic and prolonged focus on the SSR death case, where should the media look? It must concentrate on the pandemic and its aftermath by delivering stories on health, economy and society to the consumer. The entry of the girlfriend in the script (Rhea Chakraborty, a national name now) followed by hysteria on social media enhanced the focus on the case, which is providing with the recipe for action in the media each day.
Cacophonic drama is irresistible for certain news anchors, who are capitalising on the story’s ability to deliver entertainment packages. These anchors are analysing the case endlessly, knowing they will find a captive audience that the coverage of Covid-19 may not guarantee.
The need to find viewers for TV shows and online visitors in an eternal rat race has made rationality disappear in many sections of the media. While that is not a good thing, don’t expect such disproportionate coverage to end anytime soon. The treatment of the Sushant Singh
Rajput case by many TV news channels is a good example of how the interrelated concerns about ratings and revenues drive news coverage in substantial parts of the electronic media. The mainstream electronic news media, it can be argued , has demonstrated a serious lack judgment by distorting national priorities. They also include the pandemic that shows a sign of abating with cases rising exponentially and putting public health system under unbearable strain