By Hindustan Times
Bollywood is tired of taking the blame for every other controversy. This time, it was dragged in a recent Sunday Times (UK) report alleging that a Bollywood actor played honeytrap in a match-fixing scam spanning Test matches, Twenty20s, IPL and county matches in England. The actor’s picture was splashed across the paper’s front page with her face blurred and identity withheld due to legal reasons. The fraternity feels it’s unfair to show the industry in a bad light due to one such unproved allegation.
“These things are based on assumptions. One needs to have concrete evidence, else these are baseless conversations. Bollywood is too big to be tarnished by one person,” says actor Neha Dhupia. “Any association of this sort is not good for the industry’s image. Before Bollywood, there is a need to clean up the game first,” says director Rohan Sippy.
Others feel the girl in question may be a small-time starlet. “I’m sure this is not a top actor. Stars don’t need to do this stuff. This could be a struggler who met someone (a bookie or player) sometime, but you can’t point a finger without revealing the identity of the girl in the picture,” says filmmaker Kumar Mangat. Ad guru Prahlad Kakkar adds, “We need to know whether the female involved is actually an actor, an aspiring actor, a starlet or someone who just has given an audition somewhere. It is wrong to generalise.”
Filmmaker Subhash Ghai, too, is miffed with the international media for maligning the industry’s image, since the follow up reports to the Sunday Times’ operation has led to a spate of online stories recalling the reported naming of actors such as Neetu Chandra and Veena Malik in past match fixing allegations. The allegations were never proved.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, however, holds a different opinion: “I won’t be surprised if this girl actually belongs to Bollywood. There is nothing unusual about it. Cricket is a multi-million dollar industry and people with vested interests can use Bollywood connections.” The picture of the actor used by The Sunday Times resembles an online wallpaper of an actor whose claim to fame is a box office flop with Sunny Deol.