Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap says he has a problem with actor and Member of Parliament Ravi Kishan’s “self-righteous” stand on drug use when the Bhojpuri star himself allegedly used to smoke weed. Though Kashyap adds he doesn’t judge Ravi for “smoking up”.
Earlier this week, Ravi praised the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for its probe into Sushant Singh Rajput death case and arrest of multiple persons in the drugs case, including actor Rhea Chakraborty. “We know the problem of drug trafficking and drug addiction is increasing. In this conspiracy, our neighbouring countries are involved… Drugs come to this country via China and Pakistan. Our film industry, too, is affected,” Ravi Kishan had said. “The Government should stop this conspiracy of neighbouring countries to destroy our youth,” he had added.
In an interview with Faye D’Souza, Anurag, who worked with Ravi Kishan in his film Mukkabaaz, spoke about why the actor’s stance on the whole issue irked him.
“Ravi Kishan acted in my last film Mukkabaaz. Ravi Kishan starts his day by saying Jai Shiv Shankar, Jai Bam Bhole. Jai shiv Shambhu For the longest period of his time, he has been somebody who has used weed. It is life. Everybody knows it. The whole world knows. There’s not a single person who doesn’t know that Ravi Kishan does not smoke up. He might have quit now, that he has become a minister, he might have cleaned up. But do you include that (weed) in drugs? I am not judging Ravi, because I have never seen weed as a drug. ‘Abuse’ is not the word. He used to smoke up.
“He has always been functional, he has always done his job well, it did not make him dysfunctional, did not make him a monster. It did not do anything that people associate with drugs,” he added. “So when he talks about it, when he takes a self-righteous stand, I have a problem with that,” Anurag said.
Anurag said that he has seen more people smoke up when he was in university than in Bollywood.
“You need to clean up the country. Clean up the ghats of Benaras. Clean up UP (Uttar Pradesh), bhang is legal there. I’m not a person who would say I’m against marijuana. I don’t use it. I can’t use it. I wish I could use it. People are legalising it across the world. Marijuana is so good for so many ailments. And, if somebody is advocating it I will stand with that.”
Ravi’s statement in the parliament was also criticised by Jaya Bachchan. “Just because of a few people, you cannot tarnish the whole industry… I was really embarrassed and ashamed that one of our members in the Lok Sabha, who is from the industry, spoke against the film industry. They bite the hands that feed them,” she had said.
In the same interview, Anurag also talked about his own struggle with harder, chemical drugs between 2006-2008.
“Before I did DevD, I went through a personal phase of drugs between 2006 and 2008 out of depression and my films not releasing. When I got into that phase because I had invisible asthma I was more abusing chemical drugs at that time. It was a massive shame for me. I would hide and try to procure them and find out secretively where to get them. My biggest fear was that nobody found out that I was doing that. I started talking about it (the drug phase) much later in 2014. But those two-and-a-half years when I did that, all of my experience I’d put it in DevD, from the sense of shame associated with it to the way I would hide it and not want anyone to find out about it,” he said.