New Delhi: Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case will now see a prominent entertainment editor and film critic Rajeev Masand being questioned by the Mumbai Police. Sources said that Rajeev Masand would be interrogated on Tuesday (July 21, 2020) over some blind articles written by him between 2017 and 2019. The articles, however, do not have Sushant's name but were indirectly pointing towards him.
The development comes days after Mumbai Police learnt from Sushant's PRs, managers and doctors that he used to be under stress over the negative articles published on him and was also under the impression that someone was trying to tarnish his image.
In the alleged blind articles, the film critic has been accused of calling an actor in question a "skirt chaser", an "overpriced outsider".
One of the articles was written in November 2019, when Sushant was hospitalised for a week due to depression. He was treated for depression by five doctors.
Rajeev Masand has reported and written on movies and entertainment business for the last couple of decades. He is considered to be close to many Bollywood A-list stars, filmmakers and directors.
Three articles by Rajeev Masand for the Open Magazine are under scrutiny.
In September 2017, he wrote 'Art of the Rehash', in which he spoke about actors Varun Dhawan, Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi. However, the last topic of the article didn't have any particular name, but it mentioned that the actor is question was "Consumed by Insecurity".
He wrote: "A young male actor, recently reunited with his mentor, is reportedly giving the unit of his new film a hard time during an outdoor shoot. The actor, who is coming off a big dud, likes to give the impression that he’s all calm and Zen-like, but the crew on the new project says he’s consumed by insecurity.
Word from the set is that he is getting on the nerves of his director, who is trying his best not to pop a blood vessel. The actor is also apparently not thrilled that the crew pampers his female co-star more than him. Some have even said the actress’ mother is keeping a close eye on him, mindful of his skirt-chaser reputation."
The next article dates to May 2018, in which he touched upon Yash Raj Films' projects and actors Richa Chadha and Rajkummar Rao's vacations with their respective partners. Then, he spoke about a "promising 'outsider' in Bollywood who has taken a whopping acting fee for a 'modest budget' film".
It was titled "The Price of Being Overpaid". It read, "The problem is that the actor has one mega-sized dud behind him, and despite a few potentially profitable projects on the anvil, some of his sheen appears to have worn off. An action flick he's made with a top banner is getting mediocre reports, while another project ran into financial trouble and needed to be ‘rescued’ by the same producer.
Insiders are saying the actor needs a hit to bounce back into the reckoning. The ones in his corner are his directors, particularly the one who gave him his debut film and is working with him on his most ambitious project right now. This bullish filmmaker is convinced that his star is only facing a rough patch and has been swearing to anyone willing to listen that his performance in the movie he’s making will bring both revenues and accolades."
The third article was published in November 2019. It was headlined "Reimagining Bob" and in this article, Rajeev wrote about an actor being "On the Back Burner".
"When a leading studio recently delayed the release of one of their big-ticket titles by a few months, it became clear to industry insiders that there was a problem. This is a film that the studio has produced in-house and one that has cost them a neat little packet, so it’s very unlikely that they’d postponed the release for no good reason.
The reason, as it turns out, has been staring everyone in the face. The studio has realised that the audience appears to have lost interest in their talented and promising leading man since his name became linked to a scandal. Despite efforts on the part of the studio to deny the rumours, the actor has not been able to revive interest in himself."
On the other hand, Rajeev is also accused of promoting nepotism and writing in favour of film families. Recently, actor Manoj Bajpayee and filmmaker Apoorva Asrani had also called out Rajeev Masand over his blind items on Sushant.
Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide at the age of 34 in Mumbai.