In an unprecedented show of unity, India's Bollywood have come together and taken the country's two leading English TV channels to a higher court of law against what they claim is a "media trial" in the drugs scandal linked to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Top names in Bollywood, including the three Khans — Salman, Shahrukh and Aamir — and as many as 34 filmmakers, including Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra, have filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against Republic TV and Times Now for "irresponsible reporting" in the drugs case, a lawyer told the media on Monday.
In their plea, the Bollywood celebrities have asked the court to immediately restrain the TV channels and social media platforms "from making or publishing irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood and its members". Media trial of Bollywood film personalities is tantamount to infringing upon their privacy, the plea says.
The Bollywood celebrities have also objected to the usage of words like "dirt", "filth", "scum" and "druggies" during reporting of the case, the lawyer said.
India's Narcotics Control Bureau is probing several Bollywood celebrities in the drugs scandal after WhatsApp chats retrieved from Sushant Singh's former actress-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty procured banned substances like cannabis, weed and hash from dealers with links to foreign countries.
Rhea was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau on September 9, following days of questioning, in connection with the death of 34-year-old Sushant Singh, whose body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his Mumbai flat on June 14. She was released on bail by the High Court in Mumbai last week.
The probes into Sushant Singh's death and the related drugs scandal have captivated and polarised India in recent months, with the media being blamed for carrying out "biased" reporting and pronouncing their judgment before the court.