I will stand by my friend Rhea, says Saqib Saleem

The Bol­ly­wood ac­tor tells why he feels the need to sup­port the ac­tress, as he read­ies for the re­lease of his web show

Khaleej Times - City Times - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL GOMES michael@kahlee­j­times.com

AFEW YEARS BACK, when Bol­ly­wood ac­tor Saqib Saleem was work­ing on the movie Dobaara: See Your Evil, he ad­mit­ted that he shared good chem­istry with his Mere Dad Ki Maruti co-ac­tor Rhea Chakrabort­y and even went on to sug­gest her name for a role in the film. To­day, after Rhea has been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with a drugs case re­lated to her late boyfriend Sushant Singh Ra­jput’s death, a few celebri­ties have been voic­ing their sup­port for the ac­tress. Among them are Saqib and his ac­tress sis­ter Huma Qureshi. Though the sib­lings faced se­vere back­lash for of­fer­ing their sup­port, Saqib has been brave enough to say that he will stand up for his friend, come what may.

“Rhea is a friend, we’ve known each other for about 10 years and have worked to­gether in Mere Dad Ki Maruti. She’s a very sim­ple girl from Am­bala, from an army back­ground; her dad was an army doc­tor. They’re like any other mid­dle class fam­ily.

I am go­ing to stand by her be­cause I be­lieve she has not done any­thing wrong,” the ac­tor told City Times over a Zoom call on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Saqib and Huma have been sub­ject to abu­sive hate mes­sages over so­cial me­dia ever since they sup­ported Rhea, and the ac­tor even quit Twitter to keep away from the neg­a­tiv­ity. He be­lieves that what­ever is hap­pen­ing with Rhea is not right.

“I am not telling peo­ple to not stand by what they be­lieve in, but that doesn’t mean we should be do­ing this (to Rhea). Look at the me­dia (be­hav­iour). We’ve all be­come vul­tures. We’re in times of Covid-19 and did you see what Rhea and her fam­ily were being sub­jected to? Is that fair? It’s not.”

The me­dia ob­ses­sion with Sushant’s death, be­gan in June, soon after the ac­tor was found dead in his Mumbai home. While the death was passed off as sui­cide by the Mumbai Po­lice, some sec­tions of the me­dia did not be­lieve them and car­ried out their own in­ves­ti­ga­tions in an at­tempt to un­cover the truth. But Saqib be­lieves that a few news chan­nels were mis­lead­ing view­ers.

“The only job of these news chan­nels, the so called ba­nana repub­lic chan­nels, is to state facts and not give a nar­ra­tive. Not to make peo­ple be­lieve what they want them to. News chan­nels should only talk about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, let the courts de­cide on the case. It seems these chan­nels have now be­come the

Supreme Court and are de­cid­ing who’s guilty or in­no­cent.

What if to­mor­row all the al­le­ga­tions against Rhea are proved to be wrong?

Will these chan­nels then come out in pub­lic and apol­o­gise to Rhea and her fam­ily? Things have be­come ex­tremely dif­fi­cult. Why can’t peo­ple just re­spect and love each other?”

The Race 3 ac­tor who was on a pri­vate visit to Dubai is against the vil­i­fi­ca­tion of Rhea. Ac­cord­ing to him no one should be sub­ject to such an or­deal. “I’m to­tally against the me­dia trial. I have com­plete faith in the CBI, the NCB, in our courts and the po­lice. I want them to fig­ure out what happened, what went wrong (in the Sushant Singh Ra­jput case). But not (by me­dia and peo­ple) in this man­ner where a 28-year-old woman is being pub­licly hu­mil­i­ated. Some of the com­ments peo­ple are pass­ing are very cruel, like ‘she should also die or com­mit sui­cide’. Such things make me very un­easy,” Saqib says. “What has happened to peo­ple these days, why do we have so much angst? If you can’t re­spect any­one then please don’t dis­re­spect them. You don’t know who is go­ing through what. No one knows the truth (about Sushant and Rhea). We should be­lieve the CBI and NCB,” he adds.

Like many oth­ers, Sushant’s death came as a blow to Saqib and though he does not want to spec­u­late on any­thing about his death, he feels that Rhea and her fam­ily could also be un­der­go­ing men­tal stress due to the treat­ment being meted out to them.

“I re­ally feel hor­ri­ble about what happened to Sushant. It breaks my heart. But what­ever has tran­spired, we should wait un­til the in­ves­ti­ga­tions are done and the truth comes out. But un­til then, what are we do­ing to the other per­son (Rhea)? If the (Sushant’s) men­tal health the­ory proves to be true - I don’t know and don’t want to com­ment on that - then what we are do­ing to Rhea and her fam­ily is go­ing to give them a lot of anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion and we will be re­spon­si­ble for their men­tal trauma also. If we can’t be sen­si­tive about such things as a so­ci­ety then we don’t de­serve any of this.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.