Three months since the shocking demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, and over a month into a CBI investigation on the circumstances of his death, a small group in Sydney has rallied together for billboards in the actor’s honour.
“We wanted to put it up to mark 100 days since Sushant passed away,” explained Naari Shakti, the group that organised the billboard.
“The billboards are intended to be a tribute to him. The message we want to convey is that we haven’t forgotten him, and we won’t give up our fight for justice.”
The billboards are located at Great Western Highway Eastern Creek and Greystanes and will stay up for one week.
Comprising of five women (and now two men), the members of Naari Shakti are from Sydney and Melbourne. They came in touch through various Facebook groups like NRIs for Sushant Singh Rajput, who had previously raised awareness for the #JusticeforSSR campaign.
However, when billboard efforts from these kinds of large groups came to a pause, Naari Shakti decided to do their bit in whatever way they could.
They emphasised they are not an organisation but “a group of people brought together for Sushant” who are committed to the fight for justice. They have elected to not be named individually, to show that they aren’t seeking any of the limelight.
“If the aim of the Melbourne billboards was for a CBI inquiry, the aim of this billboard is to bring the attention back to Sushant. Lately, the investigation has completely shifted to conversations around drugs, and people have forgotten about looking into his death. We want this billboard to keep the torch on for justice.”
Hashtags like #FocusOnMurderofSSR, too, have been trending on social media in response to increased sensationalism around media coverage of the CBI investigation.
“We were inspired by the #JusticeforSSR billboard that we saw in California. We wanted to bring something similar to Australia. I guess the Melbourne team beat us to it!” Naari Shakti told Indian Link.
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In August, seven billboards reading #JusticeforSSR had gone up in Melbourne, supporting the growing cry for an CBI investigation. They had received a mixed response, with some applauding the effort and others viewing it as a politically motivated move.
Like its Melbourne counterpart, the Sydney billboards were crowd funded and hired through Scene Media director Natasha King.
“We initially struggled to put together funds for a billboard in Sydney. Then we found a sponsor, Sydney Accounting and Taxation Professionals, and were able to raise over $3,000 for the billboard to stay up for one week,” the group explained. “We also received administrative support from Vedic Global.”
Due to regulations about advertising and billboards in New South Wales, they had to be sure about their design.
“There were certain things that couldn’t be said, like ‘boycott Bollywood’. We had to choose our words carefully. Thankfully, one of the members of Naari Shakti is a designer. Now we can say that Sydney finally has an SSR billboard too!”
Apart from the billboard, Naari Shakti have been brainstorming future endeavours to keep the momentum going. They’ve considered marking the 14th of every month with an event for Sushant, alongside joining his sister Shweta Singh Kirti’s global efforts.
Most recently, she conducted a #FeedFood4SSR campaign, inspiring his fans to feed a homeless person and pray for justice, and #Plants4SSR, which saw more than 1 lakh trees planted across the globe.