The Kangana Ranaut Controversy: Why It’s Best Ignored.
The Kangana Ranaut controversy is a self-manufactured phenomenon designed to provoke and polarize. An unsavoury reminder of the growing appropriation of India’s film culture by the right, Ms Ranaut is best ignored.
Actor Kangana Ranaut has never been a stranger to controversy. But her latest bout of social media belligerence once again reveals her curious predilection for unwarranted pugilism. So, what does one really do with her?
The Queen Unravelled: What Kangana Ranaut Stands for and What Ought to be Done with Her.
Sigh. Yet another Kangana Ranaut controversy
Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut just announced her decision to travel to Mumbai on 9th September. Ordinarily, an announcement like that should have elicited nothing more than some quiet cheer from fans. But coming from Kangana Ranaut, the announcement had to be accompanied by lots of whistle-inducing drama and histrionics. The “decision” on Twitter was followed by a feisty remark: kisi ke baap mein himmat hai toh rok le (let’s see who dares stop me). An irreverently smiling emoji sat next to it.
Oops! Kangana Ranaut does it Again!
Kangana, whose badly-articulated but brave allegations against rampant nepotism in Bollywood go back to 2010, has been on a no-holds-barred attack mode targeting Bollywood’s exclusionism ever since actor Sushant Singh Rajput (SSR) was found dead under unknown circumstances.
Having lambasted biggies like Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra, the Gangster actor – no pun intended – soon turned her formidable ire on the Mumbai police for allegedly attempting to silence her due to her statements against the powerful drug mafia racket in Bollywood.
Watch: Sanjay Raut hits back at Kangana Ranaut
On September 2, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut slammed her defamatory allegations against Mumbai Police in the party mouthpiece Saamana. He wrote, “We kindly request her not to come to Mumbai. This is nothing but an insult to Mumbai Police. The Home Ministry should take action over it”. Sure enough, Ms. Ranaut hit back on Twitter, calling the Shiv Sena MP’s remark an “open threat” and adding that Mumbai now felt like Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
We kindly request her not to come to Mumbai. This is nothing but an insult to Mumbai Police. The Home Ministry should take action over it.
While the remark immediately triggered a barrage of criticism against Ranaut, it yet again exposed Kangana Ranaut’s curious predilection for unwarranted pugilism. Soon enough, the controversy took the shape of a political slanging match between the ruling Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress Party on the one hand, and state opposition party BJP on the other. Ranaut, meanwhile, dashed in and out of social media conversations for the next 48 hours.
Bollywood’s Enfant Terrible
Born and raised in the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh, Kangana Ranaut’s unBollywoodish, unpolished charm was initially refreshing. As were her brutally candid remarks against colleagues in Bollywood, and ex-boyfriends of course. She spoke fearlessly of her affair and ensuing legal fracas with superstar Hrithik Roshan, underlining Bollywood’s entrenched sexism and misogyny.
She even attacked Karan Johar himself on his talk show Koffee with Karan, alluding to his snobbery and intolerance of “outsiders” like herself. And made no bones about her lack of interest in working with the Khans.
Watch: Kangana Ranaut on Koffee With Karan
But it didn’t take long for candour to descend into cringe-worthy cant. Referring to herself as a true patriot, Ranaut went on to denounce liberals and lavish praise on Prime Minister Modi, referring to herself as his fan. In her right-wing ramblings, she excoriated veteran actor Shabana Azmi for accepting an invitation to a cultural event in Karachi, called for the destruction of Pakistan, and described the Hindi film industry as a place teeming with anti-nationals.
In April this year, she jumped to her sister Rangoli Chandel’s defence when the latter’s Twitter account was suspended for an anti-Muslim tweet. She also called for the demolition of social media platforms, only to make her Twitter debut four months later apparently because she was convinced of “the power of social media” in the wake of the SSR case.
The “power” was soon exercised through a torrent of badly spelled, unpunctuated, egregiously contentious tweets.
The last two months in general and the last few days in particular have been especially tempestuous. Victims of her rabid rants include fellow actors Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana, Taapsee Pannu, Swara Bhasker, Alia Bhatt, and the Hindi film industry in general. What is more, before firing salvos at Mumbai Police, she had sparred with Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray. Lately, she also took sly digs at Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, obliquely questioning his “Maratha pride” credentials.
Watch: Kangana Ranaut’s big statement on Sanjay Raut
Unsurprisingly, her incendiary twitter remarks, oscillating between playing victim and attacker, prompted a Mumbai-based activist named Santosh Deshpande to lodge a police complaint against her. Meanwhile, Congress party spokesperson Sachin Sawant alleged that Ranaut was merely the face of a smear campaign against the Maharashtra government – the real mastermind was the BJP IT cell.
Ouch. That must have hurt Ms Ranaut, given her proclivity for keeping all credit to herself.
Wrestling with a Pig
Kangana Ranaut may be a BJP loyalist worth her salt, but her Mumbai-PoK comment was far too below the belt for even the BJP to condone. Soon after her tweet ruffled feathers, drawing unequivocal condemnation from all quarters, Maharashtra BJP leader Ashish Shelar expressed disapproval, telling reporters that the BJP didn’t agree with Kangana’s statement. But it is dear little Kangana after all, and she could never be abandoned altogether. So, support did arrive in the form of BJP MLA Ram Kadam and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis’s wife Amruta. The former even tried to play down the Kangana Ranaut controversy, calling it a diversionary tactic. Haryana BJP Minister Anil Vij has sought police protection for her.
What does one really do with Ms Kangana Ranaut?
So, what does one really do with Ms Kangana Ranaut, India’s one and only non-dynast, quasi-political brat? Is it really a good idea to book her for sedition and have women workers slap her, as Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik suggests?
Well, in an ordinary situation, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja would be the last person to heed the advice of. But her recent wisdom-dripping tweet reveals that there is more to the girl than her fashion sense.
Well-dispensed advice. We couldn’t agree more.