Quite a few things failed to budge media on the path of honesty and responsibility. So in an era where media is all about sensationalism and structured reality converted into news, it is not a big surprise when the media fraternity unanimously made quite a few of Bollywood’s singing sensations the scapegoat of their ever so growing hunger of TRPs and readership. This is a story about an incident involving singer Prajakta Shukre. In case you don’t know her name, she shot to fame with Indian Idol, the very first season. Also involved were singers Antara Mitra, who sung ‘Bheegi Si’ in Raajneeti, Ujjaini Mukherjee and Meenal Jain. After the terrible and biased reporting by media people here in India, which was keen on portraying all of these singers, including Abhijeet Sawant, at fault, Prajakta shared her side of the story with me.
A few days back, while on their way back from a meeting held at Singer’s Association of India, the four were involved in an accident when their slow moving car allegedly bumped two youths on a bike. Within moments, a huge mob built up at the site of the accident. The mob seemed to have gathered to torment these souls rather than taking the initiative of rushing the boys to the hospital. As if one villain, the mob, wasn’t enough to worsen the story line for that night, in enters another villain, the media.
The television media were not bothered about the facts of that night because they are of the mindset that every single second spent in looking for facts and verifying them comes with a loss of a second’s worth of airtime. It was the same for the print media as well, they didn’t feel like publishing the facts or the real side of the story because they were too busy talking about the structured controversies of Big Boss or selling real estate with an average of one huge advertisement per page.
I am a writer and I believe that my journalistic advantages are a bonus because I always want to write the truth. In this case, the truth is rather simpler is way away from the complexities of Mob Fury or Media Manipulation. Prajakta shared with me the following write up which she calls Their Side of The Story. I was so very moved when I read what Prajakta Shukre had to say. She was there in the car and amidst this chaos, and I feel it is rather all the more important to listen to what they have to say than the words of media echoing through every possible channel or news paper. It is indeed inspiring to see that how singers as a fraternity stood by each other in time like this.
Their Side of the Story
As you know, we have been through a terrible trauma since two days. It’s because of your wishes and prayers that we have come unscathed out of all this…
Now as this is a medium where I can put across exactly and purely our sides of the story, so I want to tell you in brief since there are still lots of misconceptions regarding this issue.
Here are few facts:
1) WE WERE NOT RACING
2) OUR CAR WAS IN A VERY NOMINAL SPEED
3) WE DIDN’T CONSUME ANY KIND OF ALCOHOL
We all gathered at Aajivasan for a meeting of Singer’s Association of India. We left at around 10.30, and within 10 minutes this unfortunate incident happened. While we were on the way back home, in fraction of a second something banged our car and that is when we realized that a bike has hit our car. Although there was no major impact inside the car because we were going in a very normal speed.
The first thought which struck our mind was about the safety of the kids who were driving the bike. But before we could do anything about them, in two minutes almost 200 people gathered and started banging the car and started abusing us.
We were ready to face the situation and we tried to explain people that first thing, we should take these boys to the hospital instead of fighting amongst ourselves and that the law should take its own course about this accident.
When all the girls present in the car Me, Meenal Jain, Antara Mitra and Ujjaini Mukherjee realized that the situation is out of control and the mob is not ready to listen to us, we thought we should call for help and since Abhijeet and our friend Nakash Aziz and Amit, who had left from Aajivasan at the same time we assumed that they must be near by since they were on their way home. WE WERE NOT RACING; they were on different routes and just came to help us.
They came there just to calm the situation down and most importantly to protect us but the moment these guys arrived, the crowd simply started beating them. The Mob even physically abused Antara. They pushed her around and she sustained physical injuries.
Luckily after say five minutes, the Santacruz police were patrolling in the area and they came and rescued us from this mob. We were indeed fortunate that Mumbai police acted in time and because of them we were saved from facing something even worse! A heartfelt thanks to Mumbai Police.
Now, the Mumbai police had taken everything in their custody for example our bags, our car key, and by then the car was also locked.
As the part of legal process, we went through the medical test to detect ALCOHOL and we were not surprised to know that IT WAS NOT DETECTED.
By then the Mob, which had increased in numbers, had gathered outside the Police station. Sensing the tension outside Abhijeet informed Sonu Bhaiya about the incident. In few minutes Sonu Ji arrived at the police station. He tried to speak to the mob and media present there but the crowd was not ready to listen.
After Police got the official confirmation about the medical reports, I was released on bail. We were informed by Inspector Chavhan, who was supervising this whole issue, that the guys who were on the bike were completely out of danger. We were relieved to know this, as this was our major concern.
Finally, post everything, it was very sad for all of us to know that facts were distorted and were portrayed altogether differently because of the self made stories of people amongst the mob.
It seems many people were concerned about the fact that the car was damaged so badly in spite of it being in a nominal speed. To my understanding, no one in the car felt any jerk and were not injured at all and also the bikers would have been severely injured and so would we if my car was speeding. Also the car gets imbalanced because of the sudden brake, which didn’t happen. After the impact the car came to a halt on that spot itself and I was in control of my vehicle.
The only reason I could incur, is that the bike, which I assume was in a high speed, rammed head-on with the car, which resulted in such damage. And we were also informed later, that our car was further damaged by the furious crowd.
The brighter side of this dark night was that those bikers were out of danger and all of us were safe too. When my parents came to know about all this, even their first concern was about those guys who actually hit us. And they were relieved to know that we all were out of any danger. My elder brother Rohit Shukre, was with me throughout as a greatest support.
The issue of Mob fury on Indian roads has been raised over the time but now since we have actually faced this ugly scene we realized the gravity of situation.
Abhijeet as a true Idol, my elder brother, and my strength, came to our rescue and it was very unfortunate that he had to face the brunt of unruly mob. I feel sorry for him as he had to go through all this only because he was protecting me and my friends, I just can’t thank him enough, I am really grateful to him. Also want to thank my friends Nakash Aziz, Amit Sawant who also came running to stand by us, they also faced the fury of the mob.
A major tragedy has been averted due to the big support of Sonuji, Mika ji and Rahul Vaidya. Especially Rahul, who actually made sure that all of us were out of that mayhem.
My close friends Meenal Jain, Antara Mitra, and Ujjaini were there with me inside the car, and stood by me as a great support throughout. Thanks to them too. A very special thanks to Suresh Wadkar ji, Shaan Da, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Gaurav Dasgupta, Rana Majumdar and Harpreet, who were standing by us. I feel I am a part of a great family that is our music industry. Thank you all for your unconditional support and love and just want everyone to trust us when we say that we are not guilty, as we will never cheat our family.
Lastly, I want all of you to please spread this message and help me resolve all the misconceptions.
Lots of love, respect and yeah, please Take Care!
LOVE MUSIC PEACE
I hope that we as an element of mob or opinion makers have the patience to listen to both the sides of the story. Thanks Prajkta for sharing it with me.