High And Stoned For Perfection

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Life

Glitz and glam of showbiz

The news of Malayalam actor Shine Tom Chacko being arrested for possession of cocaine raised a few eyebrows. It's ironic that he gave his unconditional support for actor Mammotty's Addicted to Life campaign which campaigned for a drug free life. Some veteran film artists claim that rookie writers and actors believe in getting high to help them get the best out of their talents.

So does it really help them? Quite honestly, the answer is no. The whole thing is just a farce for them to look more exquisite. The myth that getting high helps them get better results is a sorry excuse for them to get high. That's the thing about addiction, once hooked, people find excuses to do drugs.

Some people took to social media to vent their anger on these rookie film artists, claiming that the so called 'new gen' are bringing shame upon the industry. But in the contrary, drugs in the film industry is nothing new. It's been there for over 3 decades in the Malayalam industry as per some reports. Some think they are trying to mimic their Hollywood counterparts. To some extent it is true. But the very best in Hollywood usually stays clean, only the overrated junkies like singer Justin Bieber and other wannabes get high on drugs from time to time. Then there is the infamous 'Club 27'; singers who died at the age of 27 mainly due to drug and alcohol related issues. Nearly 40-50 dead artists are reported to be part of 'Club 27'. Some of the famous names in the list are the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse etc. Though they were among the finest in the business, they never got the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Drug abuse ruined them. The 'Club 27' is the best example of how drugs ruin careers rather than make careers.

Another myth that has been doing rounds in recent years is that, Heath Ledger was a big time junkie. Ledger played the role of his life in the Dark Knight as the iconic comic book villain - The Joker. Ledger's portrayal of the Joker's was dark, twisted, psychotic and quite simply bone chilling. The fact that he committed suicide after filming for The Dark Knight had the world fussing about why a 29 year actor in his prime would kill himself by an apparent 'drug overdose'. And just like in most cases there was more to the story than what met the eye. To perfect his role as the Joker, Ledger rented an apartment far away from friends and family. He started reading Batman comics and started perfecting a version of the Joker in his mould. At some point he got lost in the fine lines between acting and reality and the role eventually got to him. He started taking anti-depressant pills and sleeping pills to keep himself steady. But in the end it was just too much for him. He overdosed on his prescription pills and killed himself. So, when the term 'drug overdose ' was used in the media, people equated Ledger to being a junkie. When he won an Oscar for best supporting actor posthumously, he was put on the spotlight again, even in death.

Some addicts in film industries all over the world desperately want to believe that Ledger was a junkie so as to make them feel a little better about themselves. The fact that godawful films like Malayalam movie Honey Bee promoted the use of weed and drugs were downright pathetic. The box office collection of films like these gives an idea that people are actually on board with the whole thing. And for South Indians, movies play a huge role in their social fabric. Most people in the south try to mimic movies to their own lives. If one of the 'good guys' in a movie utters absolute nonsense with flair, authority and panache, the viewers will absorb the whole thing like a gospel even if it's gibberish. In a way, film actors can convince people through their movies far better than most counselors or preachers down here in the south.

Drugs will always be there in film industries across the world but it has nothing to do with performance or perfection. The very best will always deliver regardless. But the Malayalam industry in particular has to be careful what they show to their highly impressionable viewers. Because it would be waste of resources and talent if half the youth in the state are stoned and keep saying 'kili poy' because their favourite actor was seen flaunting the green stuff like a trophy.


written by
Ryan Gomez