Remember the children’s story we were told when young, about the boy who cried wolf? The boy kept fooling the village folk with lies until one day, his own karma caught up with him.
The Hrithik-Kangana legal saga has been going on for some time now. Ever since it came into public domain, my first instinctive reaction was to take the side of Kangana Ranaut. And, this was way before her public outpourings.
Why did I take her side initially? Because extramarital affairs are commonplace in Bollywood and her insinuation of an affair was not exactly unbelievable.
Hrithik is no saint.
But, nor is Kangana Ranaut, I discovered, as the case unravelled.
As the case progressed and the facts came to light, the picture painted by Kangana Ranaut didn’t make any sense whatsoever. The image of Hrithik as a psychotic stalker, hacking into her computer, the proposal in Paris, of her undying love for Hrithik and the 7-year long relationship while being in other relationships with Adhyayan Suman, Ajay Devgn (supposedly, as claimed by Kangana herself in a past interview), or some random foreigner!
The only evidence she has is one photoshopped picture of Hrithik and her from a Bollywood party which Suzanne Khan has dismissed, confirming her own presence at the same event. It is like any other picture from a typical Bollywood insider party. It is suspicious how there is no evidence of any engagement… a ring, a dress, flight tickets, hotel room bookings, passport visa matches, etc. Come to think of it, an engagement is a serious commitment to take it to the next level. Isn’t it strange that there is nothing from Kangana’s side to prove her alleged engagement?
How is it that there is not a single piece of evidence provided by Kangana Ranaut to the police, till date, to validate her claims of an affair?
Mind you, I am no fan of either of them. I’ve gone way past that juvenile stage of being any celebrity’s fangirl. Back then, when the controversy freshly erupted, I questioned Kangana’s interview with noted journalist Barkha Dutt. I found the interview suspiciously one-sided in perspective. I was disappointed both as a viewer and as someone who had deep respect for Barkha Dutt as a journalist and her illustrious body of work.
Ms Dutt did not ask any of the tough questions and let Kangana Ranaut have a field day in her interview. The interview seemed propagandist and staged to me. Even if it wasn’t so, Ms Dutt’s fondness for the actress was pretty evident and it overruled her stance as a journalist, who is meant to grill and put the guest literally on the hot seat. All we, viewers, got to see was an empathetic Ms.Dutt being magnanimous towards the poor victim, Ms Ranaut.
The Hrithik-Kangana case is not even remotely related to feminism, as Barkha Dutt and Kangana Ranaut were trying to portray. It remains, till date, a serious allegation of criminal offences entailing lies, manipulation, stalking, online harassment etc.
Why is it preposterous to believe that men can be victims of stalking too, and they can also exercise their power of saying ‘no’ to a relationship? Is consent only restricted to women?
By giving this case a ‘feminist’ angle, both of them are not helping the cause of feminism in any way – on the contrary, they’re hurting it. Regardless of their headline-worthy quotes.
If the interview was about Kangana’s lifestyle and personal choices, you could bring the feminism angle to it. Like Sushmita Sen, who is unapologetic about her lifestyle. A single woman and mother, she has been in various serious and not-so-serious consensual relationships. If the interview was about a woman’s right to live her life the way she deems right, like any man, you can bring feminism into the picture. Kudos to women who have the courage to lead an open and transparent life in a highly judgemental society like ours. To Kangana Ranaut’s credit, I do like her take and thoughts on feminism and women’s liberation. Her most recent quote being: “Having sex is fun for a man, but for a woman, it’s almost criminal.”
But, this is a legal case for God’s sake. You cannot bring feminism into the picture and use it to your advantage. That’s manipulating and playing around with the public’s sentiments and feelings in an attempt to sway and seduce them onto your side. A talent which Ms Ranaut possesses in plenty, like her own dialogue in “Simran” (which she penned herself) – “Ladko ko patana ek talent hota hai (seducing guys is a talent).”
Likewise, I’m sure, “Public ko patana aur ullu banana bhi ek talent hota hai (seducing and playing the public for fools is also a talent).”
More people (men and women alike) I meet in daily life are questioning Ms Ranaut’s version, sans any proof.
Last time, Adhyayan Suman came into the limelight for his allegations against Kangana Ranaut for physical and emotional abuse. The young actor was literally trolled and shamed for coming out of the closet with his version of the story. He was also a witness to Kangana’s stalking of Hrithik Roshan, claiming that she was obsessed with Roshan even while in a relationship with him. Apparently, a man can never be right, be a victim of abuse or be in depression. More so, a flop male actor who stands no chance whatsoever against a three-time National Award winning female actor! As if awards are a validation of human character!
Cut to 2017. Kangana Ranaut had a long bad spell after Tanu Weds Manu Returns, with four of her films tanking at the box office. Rangoon sank without a trace, proving once again that the lady has no real star power or value. She courted controversy again this year with her unsavoury remarks about Shahid Kapoor, but the latter was smart not to blow it out of proportion, seeing through her game and incessant love for controversies to remain relevant.
She courted another well-planned controversy again on “Koffee with Karan”, with her nepotism remark. Karan Johar took her bait, and how! Hard! Of course, Kangana was not wrong about nepotism but her intention is suspicious. Malicious intent or not, she highlighted an obvious reality and the public support was with her this time.
Then, came the trailer of “Simran”, which created zero buzz among the public despite the controversy with writer Apurva Asrani. I found the trailer incoherent, with Ms Ranaut hamming her way through it with OTT histrionics and a thick “Queen” hangover.
In what seemed like another well-planned and staged interview on “Aap Ki Adalat”, Kangana Ranaut came out yet again talking about her emotional trauma, following her supposed relationship with Hrithik Roshan. I saw the interview, finding several inconsistencies in her speech and shifty body language. She claimed dramatically on national television her undying love for Hrithik Roshan, and how he used and betrayed her causing her second death, making you wonder what the hell she is blabbering about. What was her first death in that case?
Following their divorce, Suzanne Roshan has maintained a dignified silence about Hrithik Roshan and this shows her love and respect for her ex-husband. Their divorce is their personal matter, and they have both have kept their dirty linen private – not displayed it openly for cheap public entertainment. More importantly, neither have tried to milk the situation for their personal benefit and taint it with any negativity. And when Ms.Ranaut claims undying love on public television, it sounds like the workings of a cheap C grade movie plot. Almost like a spoof to pull some wool over her sheeple’s eyes.
She quickly followed it with the AIB video (yes, the AIB video drove home some solid truths but that doesn’t absolve the actress of the responsibility of giving proof to substantiate her allegations) on patriarchy, much like her Girlyappa video, which came during Valentine’s Day just before the release of “Rangoon”. And, she was the public´s darling and reigning queen again.
Until, of course the movie “Simran” tanked badly at the BO. The movie, as expected, was a disaster. Thanks to Kangana Ranaut, who wanted to be everything – actor, producer, director, writer and what not! The movie seemed less a biopic on the Bombshell Bandit and more like a spoof on the DDLJ lead of the same name. In a plot that clearly did not require the feminism angle at all, Ms Ranaut made a hodgepodge of the original vision of the writer, Apurva Asrani, and made a mockery of the movie. The story would have made a fantastic crime thriller. Instead, it turned out to be some feminist Naari propaganda with the Bombshell Bandit as some kind of a poster child for women’s liberation. Sadly for the movie’s cause, the real-life Bombshell Bandit ended up in jail and is no role model for women from any angle you choose to look at it.
Back to controversies! Following the “Aap Ki Adalat” interview, Adhyayan Suman wisely moved on, realising that this woman and their traumatic past don’t deserve any more of his wasted time and breath. He’s found his emotional closure and moved on. While Aditya Pancholi’s wife, Zarina Wahab, has filed her for defamation.
And Hrithik Roshan refused to bite her bait, taking his own sweet time, to respond with hard facts and evidence. No crocodile tears. No bullshit. And he has no film releasing anytime shortly.
He has released a public statement on his social media FB and Twitter accounts. Hrithik is all slated to appear on Arnab’s show “The Nation Wants To Know” this weekend. I hope Arnab asks him all the tough questions and puts him on the hot seat. I for one, want him to answer if he had asked Kangana, at any point in their interaction, to stop sending him emails, either via email, on phone or in person. Why did he choose to ignore her emails, as he claims? Did his ex-wife, family or friends know about Kangana’s stalker emails to him and what was their advice? Other than these nagging questions, I am pretty much convinced with the proof and evidence provided by him to the cops.
I watched the Republic TV coverage of the Hrithik-Kangana case and was highly impressed with Shaina NC and Deepika Bharadwaj’s balanced opinions and viewpoints in particular.
Rangoli, Kangana’s sister, says that her sister doesn’t stalk ‘uncles’ like Hrithik… that her sister is way too rich and successful for ‘uncles’ like Hrithik Roshan. And Kangana kept crying on TV that Hrithik was ashamed of her status and ‘flop actress’ tag. Go figure!
Are you kidding me, Rangoli Chandel? Hrithik Roshan is a rich producer’s son and your sister is not so naive, to be duped. She knew very well what she was going after. Before casting aspersion on Hrithik’s ex-wife and why she left him, or insinuations of a possible affair with Hrithik’s friend, look into your own sister’s extramarital affairs first. I mean, if this is not hypocrisy, what is? It’s a classic case of a people living in glass houses throwing stones at other women (and their men) – and it somehow passed off as a brave act of feminism.
The last time, I was pretty sure Kangana Ranaut would move on quite expertly with her lies and manipulation. This time, I’m afraid she has to back up her tall tales with believable proof.
Feminism or gender equality, to me, is essentially about right and wrong. The right prerogative does not lie only with the woman, and the man is not always the villain, the evil perpetrator, and entirely wrong. Feminism is about being ethical, objective and making a sound judgement based on hard facts and evidence alone, and not on promotional interviews and videos. And, this is why I support Hrithik Roshan in his legal case against Kangana Ranaut. Until, of course, Kangana swings me onto her side with sufficient proof to back up her claims.
I rest my case.
A version of this post was previously published here.