Prateik Babbar, son of actor Raj Babbar and late actress Smita Patil, has opened up about his battle with drug addiction. Speaking to Mid-Day, Prateik said that people did not know his real story, especially considering that he has had a legacy to carry. The actor’s career visibly declined over the years, despite starring in films such as Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008) and Ek Deewana Tha (2011).
His last film Umrika released in 2015, after which he starred in a web-series called Shockers.
He begins the column by writing, “People know me as Prateik Babbar, but don’t know my story. Even today, I fear retribution, liability and trial. Some of this may have been deserved at one time, but today, my story is one of success. It is a story of optimism, fortitude, celebration and resurgence. I share this account so that my fans, family and friends can hear of the isolating, all-consuming nature of addiction, its treacherous grasp, and the determination that helped me emerge from this terrorising infirmity.”
Calling addiction as a disease, Prateik writes that the only way to come out of it was through “a lifetime adherence to sobriety.”
He writes that his struggle with drugs began at the early age of 13. He writes, “My first real drug was a disturbed childhood. Constantly faced with internal dilemma, the voices in my head debating where I belong and who I am, drugs came disguised as a glitzy escape. As years went by, I got acquainted with the narcotic underbelly, which led me to my first run-in with drugs at the age of 13.”
As an introverted child, Prateik took to drugs to appear more “amiable”, admitting that he even took them in the morning to get himself through the day.
“By the time I was in my freshman year, seniors introduced me to the world of acid, cocaine and ecstasy. What started off as a few pills every couple of days, soon spiralled into uncontrolled consumption. I wouldn’t say I was naïve to the effects of drug dependence, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for what followed — withdrawal symptoms that were worse than any hangover,” he writes, elaborating on the after-effects of drugs.
But while he admitted to indulging in drugs and having women “come and go” in his life, he calls himself “God’s special child” at the end of his column. His real encounter with spiritualism occurred when he survived a heady cocktail and that left him unconscious for 24 hours.
That incident persuaded him to seek professional help.
Now clean for a year, Prateik wants to change the stigma around seeking help when it comes to battling drug addiction. “I am certain that I will wrestle my need for drugs even on my best days, but the only way to keep cynicism at bay is by sharing the emotions that fueled my addiction in the first place,” he writes.
Staying sober doesn’t seem so bad after all, he signs off.
Prateik will next be seen in a film directed by Abhinay Deo, which stars Rishi Kapoor and Taapsee Pannu.