Whether or not Rahul Bhatt had any connection with terror suspect David Headley, the backlash of the revelations is already being felt not just by the Bhatt family, but several others as well.
Right-wing radicals have stopped the screening of Bhatt's film Tum Mile, and now trouble could be brewing for Pritish Nandy (who owns Moksh gym, where Rahul worked as trainer and Headley is said to have worked out), Emraan Hashmi and even Arti Chhabria.
Blogs and social networking sites are abuzz with the unravelling web of information that traces a path to the 26/11 terror attacks. Even writer Shobhaa De has posted her candid views —- she's called the Bhatts a 'dysfunctional family'.
Needless to say, Mahesh isn't taking anything lying down. "What's worse is that people like Shobhaa, a thinking individual, can write that our family is dysfunctional. It clearly sends out a signal that she too feels that since Rahul knew David, he must have been up to something. This is worse than any political party's reaction to us as it shows that even urban, educated people can believe things without finding out whether accusations are true or not. It is a lynch mob reaction. Celebrities bring in the media spotlight and this case shows how news is being trivialised."
On another tangent, Mahesh and Pooja pointed out that while they were being targeted, no one was questioning Pritish Nandy, who owns the gym where Headley used to work out and where he met Rahul Bhatt in the first place. The Bhatts also alleged that Pritish has sacked Rahul's fitness trainer Vilas soon after the case came to light.
But Nandy defended himself by telling After Hrs, "Moksh is independent from Pritish Nandy Communications. I've asked the managers there and they've told me that no one has been removed from their job. So, I guess the so-called facts are wrong. I feel issues of national security are being ignored. What we are having, alas, are celebrity debates in the media."
In the end, both Pritish and Mahesh feel that the media is using the celeb angle to the Headley case as a TRP grabber — to the detriment of a more serious look into the security breach.
Shobhaa De sums it up: "Unfortunately, this is the way media and intelligence agencies operate all over the world. For instance, had, Woody Allen's son's name been linked to 9/11, even in an oblique way, do you think the international press corps wouldn't have gone to town with the information? There is the upside to celebrity and a downside. The David Headley case is an extremely sensitive matter involving national security and has just begun unraveling. We don't know all the ramifications and it's best not to prejudge or trivialise the issue by focusing attention on non-entities." Well, well, now.