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Like many, this author initially felt Kangana Ranaut’s recent Aap Ki Adalat interview was too ‘conveniently’ timed. What made her rethink? Read on!
Kangana Ranaut doesn’t believe in being diplomatic. Kangana Ranaut doesn’t give a damn to what anyone thinks about her – be it high profile directors who can make or break an actor’s career, be it the privileged sons of the biggest names in the Bollywood industry, be it the Women’s Commission (which according to her can be bought with enough money), or be it the awards functions filled with glitz or glamour and sponsored by the most influential funders of the film industry.
And you know what makes her a woman to look up to even more? She doesn’t even hesitate to admit when she herself has faltered. I was already in awe of her as one of the most talented actors in Bollywood in recent times. However, her recent Aap Ki Adalat interview made this ordinary girl fall even more in love with the Queen that is Kangana Ranaut. She is truly an inspiration for women like us, who come from humble backgrounds and who are striving to make it big based only on our own merits.
Like Kangana, even I’m ready to admit that I faltered in the beginning by not being convinced enough to watch this interview. A mentor and a friend, who I look up to (and who shall remain unnamed) asked me about my views on it. Like a lot many people out there, I said that though I haven’t watched the interview, I felt the timing was convenient for her because of her upcoming movie release. Also, going by the sensational media reports that selectively highlighted parts of the interview, I felt equipped enough to give my views. Boy, was I wrong!
When I watched the interview, my views changed completely. Not only was Kangana poised and calm, the reasonings she gave to the ‘charges’ put up against her and the questions she asked in return, were so relevant that I felt guilty about earlier having arrived at a conclusion about the interview even before watching it.
What left me so impressed?
Let me present to you, a few things she discussed in the interview that made me cheer her spirit and applaud her for the courage she displayed when all the odds were stacked against her:
She talks about the time when she was put under house arrest by actor and producer Aditya Pancholi and was abused by him on a regular basis. When his family members refused to help her, she took recourse to taking help from the police. Then she goes on to advice other women that if they are in an abusive relationship, then they definitely need to take the police’s help to get out of it.
When asked about the fact that many directors say she interferes in the making of the films she is a part of, she says that she puts forth her suggestions and sometimes, it so happens that the director would ask her to give those suggestions in private so that he can announce it as his own suggestions in front of other crew members! She goes on to say that the male ego of these directors are so fragile those get hurt if an actor gives them some advice in public about their work.
When asked about her conspicuous absence from award functions, Kangana says that these award functions are all pre-decided and she doesn’t like taking part in such fake programs. ‘They even force you to come by threatening you that your career will be over if you don’t,’ she adds. ‘Why should I be forced to do something I don’t want to do?’ Yes, Queen! We feel you and completely agree with you.
She has been rebuked by some of the biggies in the industry, such as Karan Johar, Saif Ali Khan and so on, for being outspoken against nepotism. She has called Karan Johar a movie mafia to his face. Just think about it once. A girl from a small town in Himachal Pradesh getting all the success and fame without pandering to established names in the industry. How inspiring is that? I’m getting goose bumps even while writing it! I’ve heard people say that there are other outsiders who do not complain like her about nepotism, like an Irfan Khan or a Priyanka Chopra. But, so what?
We aren’t all the same, right? And the fact that she is protesting so vocally against this evil practice might be a good thing for the future generation of Bollywood aspirants who do not come from a filmy background. What is wrong in courageously pointing out the flaws in a system where you belong?
While talking about the chain of incidents regarding her relationship with Hrithik, and the messy aftermath, not for once does she flinch from accepting the fact that she too was vulnerable and fell for his promises. And then, she talks about the heavy prices she had to pay for the same. Starting from getting threats about her compromising pictures and videos being exposed by Hrithik, to her personal letters being published by the media (most of which were fake, according to her), to getting death threats, to the harassment of police, she underwent it all. She even says that the very Women’s Commission that agreed to help her out, backed out shortly after Papa Roshan used his influence on them. I’m not saying here that all her allegations are true but as she says, if Hrithik and his father has something else to present, then they should come into the open and do so to prove her wrong!
When asked by a member of the audience whether she didn’t feel scared dealing with such abusive and powerful people in the industry, she replies that it is not like she wasn’t scared. We all have our fears and at the same time, we all have confidence and courage. She adds that she respects women who overcome their fears and come to forefront anyway. How can we not be inspired by a woman who thinks this way?
These are some of the excerpts through which the uncrowned Queen of Bollywood stole my heart once again. In conclusion, I’d just like to add – To all those people who think she did this interview just before the upcoming launch of her movie, Simran, to get good PR, I’d like to ask:
So what? Does that take away from the fact that she overcame some of the toughest challenges anyone can think of in the movie industry, to be where she is?
Does that undermine the violence of her former male partners or the malpractices prevalent in the film industry?
Does a woman really need to justify it every time she opens her mouth to talk against the injustices she faced?
Kangana is a force to reckon with, someone who is so confident about her abilities that she doesn’t believe in pleasing people by oiling their egos. Someone who wouldn’t remain quiet just because of society’s criticism of her for being a vocal person. Someone who has the courage to stand up for what she believes in, sometimes at the risk of her own career and even her life.
We need more women like you, Kangana, and we are with you. To hell with what the society thinks about you, you truly are the inspiration for independent minded women who do not believe in giving up no matter what patriarchy throws at them.
Top image is a still from the movie Queen
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The feminism I believe in has been aptly described by Author Roxane Gay, "I embrace
Am in love with this article, and am proud of every girl and woman stay strong in the odds and give life a chance to show its miracles
Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Yes, absolutely. 🙂
There’s something so refreshing about Kangana Ranaut as a woman at the top of her game. I’ve been trying to figure why exactly that is. I think its simply that she wholeheartedly owns her successes and failures with equal honesty and she owns them too, with immense pride and dignity! There is something very powerful going on here; for as women, our strength and power really lies in a different realm to men. We often lose the opportunity to claim and own that in our own unique way. We often aim to fashion ourselves as men, trying to prove ourselves worthy of men’s tasks or men’s spheres of achievement. We need to break free of those dynamics and establish our own realm with our own indices of achievement and success. Kangana talks so openly of her emotional struggles and triumphs with as much pride as her work and that is the difference between women and men. This is our gift -unique to women is our ability to acknowledge and embrace our weaknesses, our softness and our emotions and work along with them. Unlike a large majority of men who deny these completely because they cannot face up to the enormous challenge of dealing with emotions. Even more so for successful men in patriarchal societies. Herein lies the woman’s strength and Kangana displays this in its full glory. It is something we all as women, should simply learn from and bask in and glorify whenever we encounter it. It is the cord that connects us to our roots. I’m so glad you wrote this article Kasturi, as kindred spirits our pull to Kangana’s persona is what makes us feel that there is something there that needs pondering about!
You summed it so beautifully and so aptly once again, Sonia! “We often lose the opportunity to claim and own that in our own unique way. We often aim to fashion ourselves as men, trying to prove ourselves worthy of men’s tasks or men’s spheres of achievement. We need to break free of those dynamics and establish our own realm with our own indices of achievement and success. Kangana talks so openly of her emotional struggles and triumphs with as much pride as her work and that is the difference between women and men. This is our gift -unique to women is our ability to acknowledge and embrace our weaknesses, our softness and our emotions and work along with them. ” And also, some people’s criticism of her talking too much and washing dirty linen is public is precisely the reason why most women remain quiet despite great suffering. The more she talks the more it inspires other women to gather courage and speak up. So, more power to the Queen.
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