If someone tells Bollywood has no drug problem and stories you hear are either one-in-a-million or exaggerated, one should hear the hush-hush logical voice in your head laughing. There is no denying that the film industry has a drug problem. From Ranbir Kapoor to Sanjay Dutt, many actors, male and female, have confessed they had a drug problem at some point in their lives. From Gauri Khan to Mamta Kulkarni and from Honey Singh to Ranbir Kapoor, here is a list of top celebrities from B-town who either got involved or were accused of substance abuse.
Son of veteran actor Feroz Khan, Fardeen, had a short-lived Bollywood career. He was arrested with cocaine by Mumbai Police on 5th May 2001. He had to undergo a detoxification course to get rid of the habit in the same year. In an interview with Times of India in 2012, Fardeen said, “Any mind-altering substance, whether it’s narcotics or alcohol or prescription pills, creates a lethal dependency. Before you know it, you’re sucked into a downward spiral.” It took the narcotics department ten years to charge him in the case, after which he was granted bail with immunity to drug possession charges.
Son of veteran actor Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Dutt was arrested over drug possession charges in 1982, and he had to spend five months in jail. Dutt had his names involved in several high-profile cases, including the 1993 serial blast in Mumbai. In an interview with India Today, Dutt talked about his addiction problems in detail. He called his drug phase the worst nine years of his life. Dutt spent time in a rehabilitation center in the US to get rid of the drug problem. Dutt had said once, “from cocaine to heroine, if there is a drug, I have done it.”
His was perhaps one of the most publicised drug problem since it was even put upon celluloid when Ranbir Kapoor played Dutt in his biopic. He had once revealed how under the influence of heroin, he went to sleep for two days straight. When he woke up after two days, very hungry, he was informed that he had just passed out. That’s when he decided to go to his father Congress leader Sunil Dutt seeking help for drug addiction.
For many 90s kids, Mamta Kulkarni was one of the early-life crushes from the B-town. The actress, however, had her fair share with cases associated with drugs. She was booked in Kenya in a drug trafficking case in 2014. She was arrested by Kenya Police along with her husband, Vicky Goswami, and another Indian national, Kulam Hussein. Kulkarni left Bollywood in the 2000s, and she reportedly married Goswami, an infamous international drug lord. Goswami spent ten years in Dubai jail over drug possession charges, after which he shifted to Kenya to start a business in real estate.
Known for his raps and Punjabi music, the rapper-cum-star singer has a long history of alcohol abuse. In 2016, in an interview, Honey Singh revealed his addiction problem that led to his absence from the industry for 18-months. When he disappeared without any information, there were rumors that he was lodged in a rehab center for his drug problem. In his interview with Times of India, he denied those allegations but said that he was getting treatment for alcohol abuse. He admitted that he has bipolar disorder and is an alcoholic with a mental illness took a toll on his mental and physical health. He said, “I must confess that I was bipolar and an alcoholic, which aggravated the condition.”
Those who follow the fashion industry must have heard the name of Geetanjali Nagpal. Known as one of the successful models who shared the ramp with Sushmita Sen and other famous models, things went downside for Nagpal when she fell in the hands of drug addiction. In September 2007, she was noticed by a photojournalist begging on the streets in Delhi. Though no one knew what forced the daughter of an ex-Navy officer to live on the streets, it was learned that she was in a relationship with a British national before getting discovered on the streets.
Gauri Khan, wife of one of the most successful Indian film industry actors Shah Rukh Khan, was not the name anyone would have thought to be associated with drug abuse. However, it is alleged that she was held on Berlin Airport after a small amount of marijuana was found in her possession. She was let go off as the quantity was sufficient only for self-use, but her name was never released in public by Airport authorities in Berlin or India. The only news that came out was an actor’s wife was held in Berlin.
A famous interior designer and ex-wife of Hrithik Roshan, Sussanne Khan, separated from the actor on mutual terms. However, there are alleged reports that one of the primary reasons behind their divorce is her addiction problem. In an interview, when her father, veteran actor Sanjay Khan, was asked about her daughter’s divorce, he did not say much. However, he talked about the institution of marriage. He said, “Do not be distracted… see the value of a home life, see the value of a good family, don’t think frivolously and while under the influence of alcohol or drugs”. It was alleged that he was hinting out the drug problem of her daughter that played a role in the divorce. Sussanne Khan is Fardeen Khan’s cousin.
Son of veteran actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, has his fair share of generations-old association with the film industry. However, Kapoor had also been linked with substance abuse. In one of his interviews with Deccan Chronicle, he admitted using drugs during college times. He said, “I have tried drugs when I was in film school and got into bad influence. But I realised that nothing will happen in life if I continue with drugs. When we did that section, I did a lot of research.” Though he had not tried hard drugs after college, but he is addicted to nicotine, which he says is worse than drugs. Ranbir played the role of Sanjay Dutt in his biopic Sanju which was criticized for glorifying drug use. In another movie Rockstar, he played the role of a singer who was a habitual drug user.
Known for his comic roles, Vijay Raaz was arrested by Abu Dhabi police in 2005 for possession of drugs with DJ Aqeel. Raaz spent a week in jail before he was released. Vijay claimed that he was innocent, and he did not understand what airport officials were telling him in Arabic. He alleged that he was not carrying any narcotics.
Kangana Ranaut is not a new name to be associated with controversies. A few days back, she claimed that 90 percent of Bollywood is a drug addict. However, there were allegations on her in the past that she was addicted to drugs. In March, she uploaded an IGTV video in which she admitted to being a drug addict at one point in life. Her ex-boyfriend Adhyayan Suman also alleged in an interview that she was a drug addict and his interview resurfaced after Ranaut’s recent allegations on Bollywood’s drug addiction.
Once known for her unmatchable beauty and acting skills, the career and life took a sad turn after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Parveen Babi’s alleged drug and alcohol addiction fuelled the mental health problem, and she started to doubt his colleagues. At one point, she allegedly claimed she had proof of Sanjay Dutt’s involvement in the 1993 Mumbai Bomb Blast case. She was also in relationship with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.
Better known for her acting skills and being a cancer survivor, there are reports that she was addicted to drugs during the peak of her career. It is alleged that her addiction caused cancer. Though Manisha never talked about her addiction problem, rumors suggest her addiction took a toll on her personal and professional life as well.
Bollywood, parties, and drugs
If one wants to succeed in Bollywood, they need to attend parties. It is the best way to connect to established names in the industry. However, these parties are not only for network building. Sources in the industry say that drugs are openly thrown around during such parties. There can be a small corner where anyone can snort some ‘powder (code for cocaine),’ or the whole party floor might be full of ‘white powder’ and ‘weed.’ Industry insiders say cocaine and other hard drugs might be difficult to spot in a party, but if you want to smoke pot, every third person in a Bollywood party would have some on him/her.