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In solidarity, Producers' Guild puts out statement in defence of the film industry

Condemning the 'concerted effort' to defame the industry as one that restricts talent, the statement also requested media houses to stop fanning the flames and show some decency.

Our Correspondent

The Producers' Guild of India has finally released a statement condemning the growing attacks on the film industry by a section of the media and asked media houses to exercise 'restraint' and avoid 'fanning the flames' of controversy around the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

The statement comes in the week when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has intensified its investigation into the actor's death, purportedly by suicide.

The statement, which did not name Rajput, read, 'The last few months have seen relentless attacks on the reputation of the Indian film industry across all media. The tragic death of a promising young star has been used by some as a tool to defame and slander the film industry and its members. A picture has been painted of the industry as a terrible place for outsiders to aspire to; a place that treats those who dare enter it with contempt and derision; a murky den of substance abuse and criminality.'

Indirectly, the statement hit out at the claims of nepotism, groupism and favouritism as well as accusations of drug abuse which have been made by some news channels and by also some members of the film industry, including actress Kangana Ranaut.

The actress and filmmaker has been at the forefront to demand a CBI inquiry into Rajput's death and has continued to wage an online battle against 'nepotism' in the Hindi film industry.

While not rejecting the accusations out of hand, the guild's statement said, 'Like any other sector, there is no doubt that the film industry has its imperfections, and there must always be an attempt by any industry to improve upon itself, learn and evolve, while weeding out unsavoury elements or improper practices that hold it back.'

The statement also agreed that several members of the film industry might have faced a difficult time. 'We do not negate the personal experiences of anyone in the industry,' the guild said, 'and undoubtedly many of those entering the business and seeking to establish themselves have faced innumerous hardships.'

However, it hit out at 'slanderous' and 'concerted efforts' to defame the industry, saying, '...aspirants to the film industry know that they should not be misled by the clickbait journalism currently being peddled to advance the sensationalized narrative that the film industry is a terrible place to work in. This is a place that ultimately rewards your talent, work ethic and ability to connect with an audience.'

The statement also exhorted media houses to exercise restraint. 'These are difficult times for our country and the world, so rather than venting our fears and frustrations on each other with vile and vicious trolling, it is more important than ever to come together instead of tearing each other apart,' the statement said, adding, 'Members of the industry on both sides of this debate, particularly women, have been subjected to rape threats and death threats. This is unacceptable and must stop.'

The statement comes a day after actresses Taapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan and Shibani Dandekar, among others, called for restraint in news coverage and a halt to the bullying and victimization of actress Rhea Chakraborty in the Rajput episode.

The guild also asked media houses to show 'common decency' in covering the subject. 'The media must look in the mirror and stop fanning the flames,' the industry association's statement said. 'There are some things more important than advertising revenues and ratings — things like common human decency. Let us show we still have some.'