I have been a fan of Kangana Ranaut. Not after Fashion. Or Queen. Or Tanu weds Manu 2. I have been a fan of her since I saw her in Gangster, when I was in college. Her acting was unbelievable for a first movie. People would say, ‘What! She is a nobody!’
Her beauty was unconventional. So was her story. A nobody from Himachal Pradesh. Very beautiful. Very talented. But she could not speak English. She was not a star kid. Nothing unusual about that. There are examples of non-star kids who have done well in Bollywood. The unusual part was that she did not care to be in the good books of the star kids and their parents!
Today, after watching her in ‘Aap ki adalat’ with Rajat Sharma, I am more in awe of her than ever. There are parts of interview that I just loved:
All famous and non-famous people have shared their views on her remark in Koffee with Karan that Karan Johar is “the flagbearer of nepotism”. People said that so many non-star kids have also done well. Sure! Ultimately talent matters. But do we really believe that people who are not from the filmy background get equal opportunities as the star kids? Star kids get a lavish launch with the best directors. They have friends and contacts from the industry. Even if their movies flop, they can always get re-launched with a home production. They are from the industry. Yes, there may be more expectations from them, more comparisons with their successful parents, and more pressure. But does that compare to the struggle of a 17-year-old girl who leaves her home in Himachal Pradesh with no connections in Bollywood? Someone who makes through an audition only because of talent, while supporting herself in an expensive city like Mumbai? Are star kids really on the same level as the millions of nobodies who go to Mumbai every day to try their luck? At the least they are financially secure, and have their parents to offer them guidance and second chances.
2. Her stand on fairness creams and item numbers
She does not endorse fairness products. She does not act in the raunchy item numbers that objectify women. It is remarkable for a country where even men advertise for fairness creams and do not care about its impact on society.
3. Controversy with Hrithik Roshan
At some point in the show Kangana said that Hrithik promised to marry her, but did not. Because of him, she ended up not marrying somebody else either who was willing. Now she is 30 and still single! Even celebrities think like this? I thought this was a very middle class feeling.
She said a lot on the show about the controversy involving Hrithik Roshan. I do not want to comment on it. Relationships are complicated even for ordinary, middle class people. It would be beyond complicated when famous people are involved, where the man is married / getting divorced, there is a legal notice with emails accusing the girl of being a psycho, and the whole world having an opinion on it.
But, assuming she was saying the truth, the letters she had written to her lover at that point were released in the public domain. She was threatened that her private pictures and videos would be released as well. I don’t know in what context such an invasion of privacy can be justified. She had filed a complaint in the Women’s Commission who also did not bother because the other party was more powerful. If a successful, rich, famous woman also does not get help in such situations, I don’t want to imagine the plight of the common woman.
Kangana said that she loved Hrithik at that point of time. He had initially told her he would never marry her, because he was already married then. But after his divorce, he did consider it.
I do not understand why so many women date married men. It is not good for the man’s marriage. It may never turn into a marriage for the women either. It may happen for celebrities because they have a lot of money. But ordinary men do not prefer to divorce their wives, leave their children, pay alimony and child support to their ex-wives and marry the woman they were dating with no serious intentions. They let the affair go on till the time that the woman is not demanding commitment. When she does, things go wrong. Yes, some may decide to end their marriage. But it is really the best choice to make as a woman when it results in breaking a family? Because love just happens? Great! If you believe in love, then there is hope. Go make it happen with a single man. (Of course I am not blaming the woman solely. It is the man who is committing adultery, but since I am writing from a woman’s point of view here).
I would like to believe that Kangana is telling the truth. But it does not matter what I think. We do not know what really happened. I wish people would stop maligning her by calling her “drama-queen” “cheap”, “attention hungry” “crazy” etc. Let us give the benefit of doubt to both of them!
How come people are so easily accusing her of lying for publicity? Do they know her personally? Because she is a woman? Because she is not part of the “cream” of Bollywood? Because she is outspoken? Or because she is successful in spite of all this? Famous people probably do not support her because they do not want to mess with the big people she speaks against. Ironically the same people get upset when she talks about Bollywood’s nepotism and favoritism!
Kangana, you are fearless. You speak your mind. It is not easy to speak up against people who run the industry in which you work. But you do it anyway! For every 10 people who like to demean you, there would be one woman like me who looks at you and says, “Wow! Finally somebody who is original, and honest!” You must continue to be yourself for the millions of women like me. Not every woman works in movies. Yet, she must have gone through something similar:
The one who has left her hometown for employment but is on the verge of giving up and packing herself back.
The one who has a job but does not know how to deal with group-ism and sexism at work.
The one who was in a relationship that was later denied by the man.
The one who has been called psycho by ex/current boyfriend because he could not find a better reason to dump her.
For all the women who may not have supportive parents, good relationships, money, great contacts or friends but only their work, and their conviction in themselves to become somebody from a nobody. We may not quite there yet, but we have started our journey.
And we need more women role models like you because we have no reference to deal with these situations.
© 2017, Tanvi Sinha. All rights reserved.