Bollywood stars often refer to the Hindi movie industry rooted in Mumbai as “one big family”, but the cracks in this large creative community are increasingly becoming too large to ignore.
The tragic death of Sridevi has prompted an outpouring on Indian social media over the pressures on the industry’s leading women and the murkiness behind their success.
It has also exposed the plight of many hopefuls who pursue a path to Mumbai with dreams of making it big in Bollywood.
The burden to defy age and look youthful and the haste to hide ugly scandals that embody campaigns such as #MeToo are not the issues of Hollywood alone.
- Sridevi obituary: From Bollywood actress to Indian icon
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“Bollywood is probably worse with its history of its patriarchal mindset and the exploitative nature of young women more than men,” says a young Bollywood actor on condition of anonymity.
Over the last two decades gossip websites have been leaking information about romances, break-ups, problems with drink and substance abuse and criminal acts involving the industry’s stars.
After it emerged that Sridevi’s death was due to “accidental drowning”, veteran Bollywood actress Simi Garewal tweeted about the “uncanny similarities in the death of #Sridevi and Whitney Houston”.
Houston died in her hotel room on 11 February 2012 when she accidentally drowned due to the effects of cocaine use and heart disease, an autopsy concluded.