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Reality show Lock Upp is intended to simulate staying in an Indian prison. The tagline of 'Atyachari Khel' seems applicable not only to contestants, but also the viewers.
I watched Lock Upp, with a double ‘p’, so that you don’t have to. Here’s why I think Kangana Ranaut can never be a feminist icon again, and why her show is abysmal to watch – all thanks to her.
Alright, I watched three weeks of that horrible show, Lock Upp, and to be frank, Keeping Up with the Kardashians was more bearable.
The show is centred around a bunch of contestants in a set designed to appear like a prison. The show is intended to simulate an Indian prison. The tagline of ‘Atyachari Khel‘ seems applicable not only to contestants, but also the viewers.
I watched one month of Lock Upp, ALT Balaji’s new show, obviously produced by Ekta Kapoor and hosted by Kangana Ranaut. As someone who has sat through many seasons of reality shows like Bigg Boss, Splitsvilla, and Roadies, you would assume that I have developed an abundance of patience. I’ve even watched many of Kapoor’s TV shows. (Judge me, don’t ask me why).
But after watching this show, I have had it with Ranaut, Kapoor, and reality shows. Actually, I’ve had it with television and entertainment. This show is abysmal.
So, this show is about a bunch of B – list celebrities living with each other in a jail, with each other. Does this concept sound familiar? Yup, Bigg Boss 2.0, is here.
I have earlier written a post about how Ranaut was treated unfairly by the press, and she how could have handled it better. I still agree with my views, but I have a new opinion about her.
Ranaut is insufferable, and a terrible host. After watching this show, this opinion was formulated by the end of this month, that this woman has no right to call herself a feminist icon, or a voice for the voiceless. She is a voice that only defends herself, who cannot handle criticism directed towards her, her film, or her acting.
This was evident in throughout the show. Ranuat lashes at anyone and everyone who dares to challenge her opinions. For example, when a contestant, Saisha Shinde defended her deportment on the show, and refused to admit that she had done anything wrong,
Ranaut lost her mind. Shinde countered Ranaut’s allegations. Irrespective of whether Shinde’s demeanour was acceptable or not, Ranaut went ballistic and had her removed from the show. She repeatedly informed the contestants that no one was allowed to be ‘callous’ with her, and mentioned that it was a warning to other contestants and those in future seasons to not be ‘rude to the queen’ and tell her how to speak to the contestants.
I think it is fair to dislike the way someone speaks to you and call it out. Ranaut claims that she’s “trying to discipline the contestants for throwing tantrums,” but the only person who was throwing the most tantrums, was her.
Contestants judge each other and their game plan, but Ranaut, someone who has been judged harshly by the media, the public and the movie industry, judges others.
The weekend segment called Judgment Day is when her highness, ‘The Queen’ passes judgment on every single contestant, their game and deportment throughout the week. The usual fights, cursing, disrespecting communities and minor physical attacks are a norm. But having a segment to pass judgment on another is disgusting and not expected from Ranaut. Even if this is the format of the show, Ranaut has the authority to reject this format.
Ranaut has never experienced the lives of any of the contestants, and nor has she participated in any reality show. My guess is that the tantrum queen is bound to do the same as the contestants, or even throw a bigger tantrum if she does.
Her reasoning for eliminating contestants is even more ridiculous. Like her ‘advice’ when Wrestler Babita was eliminated from the show, how to behave on a reality show and entertain the public. Reality shows are not Babita’s turf, and Ranaut told her to be vivacious, based on “Ranaut’s experience of playing a sports woman in her films.”
What kind of nonsense is that? Isn’t the point of a reality show to portray real personalities and entertain people through that? It’s like me telling a driving instructor how to drive, based on my experience during a driving simulation.
Most of Ranaut’s points are invalid, her behavior on the show screams: “I’m the Queen, I run this show, listen to my orders, accept my opinions, and bow down to me!” Her warning to the contestants indirectly says, “be subservient.”
Ranaut called a former contestant Tehseen Poonawalla “a self-obsessed man who can’t stop applauding himself.” If I recall, Ranaut has extolled all the films she has been a part of, including her own performance. I recall her stating on Kapil Sharma’s show, that her film, Thalaivi, “was the best biopic ever made in India” according to critics. The moment she criticized Poonawalla, I wanted to scream, “ditto!”
Ranaut who has snapped at many contestants multiple times for ‘ignorant remarks’, went ballistic when many did the same when she made ignorant remarks on Twitter about the lack of medical oxygen in India, while Indians were struggling against the pandemic.
Ranaut kicked out Sara Khan, who she deemed as ‘boring’. I don’t care if the producers asked her to do the same, but if her highness is principled, she would have objected to something unfair happening to Khan. Khan and another contestant, Nisha Rawal, were the bottom two, and one of them had to leave. The audience votes for their favourite, and Khan got more votes. But because she was too ‘banal’, Khan was kicked out.
Alright, maybe Khan is boring, but the audience voted for her, because they like her. That’s it. Isn’t the show about the contestants and the audience? Why is Ranaut or the producers intervening? It’s appalling and disrespectful.
Based on Ranaut’s logic, she had left the country years ago. After Fashion, Ranaut’s career went on a downward spiral. She delivered a string of flops and bad performances, until Tanu weds Manu and Queen. Other than Manikarnika, she hasn’t delivered a big hit. And it’s 2022. So why is Ranaut still hanging around? She has screamed that the industry was stifling her, so why did she stop another woman from making her comeback?
This is not a lone incident, Kaaranvir Bohra and Payal Rohatgi were at the bottom two during one of the previous weeks, and neither party got eliminated. Instead they were made captains of the two teams. And Ranaut’s reasoning was, ‘her mood’. Yet again, if the producers planned this, it should have been done in advance and the audiences vote shouldn’t have been disrespected multiple times. This move was predictable, as you want two tough contestants at loggerheads for the ratings.
If Ranaut is “fair, just and respects the audience” as she claims, then she’s not proving what she vociferously claims. Excuse me, why do we have to vote then? Why do we even have to care if our opinion, expressed through votes, is discarded? Yes, this may have happened on many other shows, but Ranaut’s proud claim that “this show is unlike any other show made in the country,” falls short.
Ranaut cannot handle tough women just like herself. Payal Rohatgi, who Ranaut can draw parallels with, because they are both fringe conspiracy theorists, misinformed, and ready to defend themselves, are at loggerheads. Or were.
Ranaut hates being ridiculed, as she claimed on Aap ki Adalat. She has cajoled Rohatgi on many occasions and asked her to stop behaving like a spoilt brat. Dear Lord, I screamed, ‘ditto’ again! Rohatgi refused to co-operate, called out Ranaut for not supporting her, and her highness continued mocking the contestant.
Ranaut even claimed about Payal, “iss ladki ka kuch nahi ho sakta.” (this girl is useless). Excuse me, didn’t Ranaut lament that Aditya Chopra told everyone the exact same line about her on Aap ki Adalat? She was proud that she had redeemed herself and proved the naysayers wrong. So, why did you repeat those words to Rohatgi?
Yes, she complimented Rohatgi the next week, and picked a new target, but nonetheless, the hypocrisy has to stop.
Ranaut doesn’t know how to engage the audience, or the contestants. She looks even more annoyed hosting the show. You would think that Salman Khan was having a bad time, and forced to be on his show, but Ranaut was absolutely irritated. She doesn’t know how to host, be eloquent, or even speak! This has nothing to do with proficiency in English, she can’t express herself in Hindi either. She can’t express herself well at all. She can barely put her point across.
In conclusion, Tantrum Karnika, please stop. I give up. Ranaut had the opportunity to be a feminist trailblazer and challenge the status quo, which she did, initially. Now, she has embraced far-right conspiracy theories, refused to educate herself on current events, and has multiple FIRs filed against her. It won’t be long before she enters the realm of politics. I doubt that her advent into politics will help the nation in any way.
I would like to conclude by saying that, those who live in glass houses, must not throw stones at others.
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An aspiring woman who is much more than her body type, selfies, shoes, looks and intellect
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
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Me: (in my Mind) Why should I?
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I believe that anything that is forced is not right. I must have a choice. I am a living human, not a puppet. And I am not stopping anyone by not following any tradition. You are free to do whatever you like to do. But do not force others. It’s depressing.