Soumyadipta Banerjee

Shiney Ahuja and an unforgiving world called Bollywood

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How many of you don’t know that Shiney Ahuja is a part of the forthcoming multi-starrer, Welcome Back, which is a sequel of Welcome? The film already boasts of a stellar starcast as it has such heavyweight names like Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, John Abraham, Paresh Rawal and Naseeruddin Shah.

Chances are, that you haven’t heard about it and it is unlikely that you are going to spot him till you buy a ticket for the film. Shiney, has been absent in the promotions of the film so far. The recent press reports, that have gone online, have also conspicuously avoided his name.

I recently spoke to the press representative of Anees Bazmee (the director of the film) who confirmed that Shiney Ahuja is very much a part of the film. At the same time, he confirmed that there are no plans to include Shiney Ahuja in the promotions of the film.

Obviously, it is not hard to guess what still ails the guy.

On March 30, 2011, a sessions court had sentenced Shiney Ahuja to seven years rigorous imprisonment for raping his domestic help on June 14, 2009. The court had also imposed a fine of Rs 3000. However, the actor was acquitted of charges of wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation. Although the maid had retracted her statement of having been raped, the trial court had convicted Shiney Ahuja based on circumstantial evidence. However, he was released on bail by the Bombay High Court, pending hearing of his appeal which was admitted in April 2011.

Shiney Ahuja has appealed the Bombay High Court for speedy disposal of his case but that plea hasn’t been approved and the Court has ruled that his case will be disposed off in due course.

You can call Shiney Ahuja a criminal but one can always argue that he was convicted on circumstantial evidence and that his appeal is pending at a higher court of law. This is not a rare scenario in Bollywood.

Whatever be the case, it seems that Bollywood has got its reservations to showcase a convicted rapist as part of a forthcoming film.

If sources are to be beleived, then it was director Anees Bazmee who was adamant in getting Shiney involved in the film despite several voices of dissent among the cast and crew. According to an Indian Express report, Anees overruled Shruti Haasan who had demanded Shiney Ahuja’s ouster from the project.

Even the Indian law and the Indian judiciary promotes the concept of giving the guilty chance to get back into the mainstream society. In fact, an ideal judicial system aims to ensure that convicted criminals get a second chance at life.

However, Bollywood is a different world altogether, even though Welcome Back is a story of hardened criminals coping up with the banalities of a “normal” life.

Before I go, here is a quick quiz. Below, is the trailer of Welcome Back where Shiney Ahuja comes on screen for a nano-second, see if you can spot him.

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