Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar on Saturday sent out a heartfelt appeal to fans as well as the media to not paint every film personality with the same brush, addressing the controversy and coverage surrounding actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death and allegations of widespread drug abuse in the film industry.
In a nearly four-minute-long video, the 53-year-old actor said that the problem of drug abuse exists in Bollywood, like any other industry, but one shouldn't assume that every person in the profession is part of the problem.
"Today, I'm talking to you with a heavy heart. I want to say so many things in the past few weeks but there is so much negativity everywhere," he said.
"We may be called stars, but Bollywood has been created because of your love. We are not just an industry, but through our films we have showcased Indian values and culture throughout the world," Mr Kumar said.
The actor added that cinema has always been a reflection of the society, raising relevant issues like "corruption, poverty or unemployment", and will continue to do so.
The Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) is probing allegations of widespread drug abuse in Bollywood and has so far arrested Sushant Singh Rajput's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, her brother Showik and some suspected drug dealers for allegedly facilitating the actor's drug habit.
The central agency has also questioned Bollywood actors Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan as a part of the investigation in a separate case.
Influential Bollywood names have faced the wrath of many on social media and various other platforms for being a negative influence.
Akshay Kumar said the events following the death of Sushant Singh in June have pushed everyone in the film industry to "introspect".
The actor said he couldn't deny that there are some in the industry who may be involved in illegal things, but most people will cooperate with the investigation.
"I'll be a liar if I say that this problem does not exist in our industry. It exists, just like every industry. But every person in every profession is not involved in such problems. This is impossible," he said.
"Drugs is a legal matter and I'm totally confident that our law enforcement authorities and courts will conduct a fair investigation into this issue. I know this for a fact that every person from the film industry will cooperate with them in this investigation. It is my request, don't look at the whole industry with same lens. This is not right," he said.
The actor requested the media to not indulge in insensitive and irresponsible coverage as, he said, even a single "negative issue" can damage an artiste's hard-earned reputation.
"I want to request the media that they continue doing their jobs and raising their voices but with sensitivity. One piece of negative issue can damage a person's reputation that they built over the years after a lot of hard work," Mr Kumar said.
(With inputs from PTI)