Kangana Ranaut responds to Karan Johar's comments: 'When they go low, we go high'
"When they go low, we go high..."
It seems Kangana Ranaut has taken these words by Michelle Obama, on how to deal with your detractors, to heart.
It is a philosophy and a sentiment that permeates her interview with the Mumbai Mirror, and her interaction with Rajeev Masand, in which she responds to some of the comments made against her by Karan Johar.
A quick lowdown in case you happened to miss the cause of the ruckus: Kangana had appeared on Koffee With Karan to promote her film Rangoon; during the course of the episode — one in which she was widely lauded for her straight talk — she called her host the ‘flagbearer of nepotism’ (it was said with a hint of laughter, but the intent was perhaps serious).
She also teasingly remarked on previous instances where Karan had written her off when she joined the film industry, mocked her accent, and finished up with how, if ever a biopic was made on her life, Karan would be cast as the “evil producer”.
(Karan Johar and Kangana Ranaut have worked together in exactly one film — the ill-fated Ungli, which was directed by Rensil D’Silva.)
On his show, Karan seemed to take Kangana’s smoothly delivered jabs sportingly enough. However, over two weeks after the episode aired, and at a wholly unrelated event at the London School of Economics, Karan let loose. He said he had been ‘gracious enough’ to give the actress a platform to air her views, that she didn't understand nepotism (though Karan’s remarks made clear that it was he who perhaps needed to google the definition of the word, as one of our columnists Harish Iyer pointed out in this piece) and that if things were so bad, Kangana should leave the industry. He further accused Kangana of playing the “woman card and the victim card”.
First things first: Johar is entirely entitled to his opinion, if that is indeed what he feels. But Kangana didn't say those things about him to other people and at an unrelated event. She said what she did, directly to him, on his show. If Karan wished to counter her, he could have easily done so, at that point of time — when she had a chance to respond as well.
Secondly, his attack got too personal, especially when he said she should leave the industry if she didn't like the way it worked. Really?
Even without the backdrop of this whole fracas, Kangana’s reply, as published in Mirror and on the Masand interview, would have been a lovely, inspiring read, coming as it does, a day after International Women's Day.
Kangana seems calm, composed and dignified in the interview with Masand, even when she talks about the failure of Rangoon. She mentioned how it was a conflicting for her, since most people's feedback was that Julia was her best performance. And yet, the film performed abysmally at the box office.
She also broke down the wage-gap conversation by saying, "I don't promise a certain first day collections, but I am giving you a year to year-and-a-half of my life, working hours, and creative input." Also, on being asked how she felt about those who think a failure for her was needed because she was "flying too high", she said, "Well, you'll never be good enough for the world."
Kangana also spoke about how the word 'ambition' means different things to men and women.
There are things she says that would offer a message of hope to every woman out there, no matter what their chosen vocation or age.
1. Play every card
Kangana asserts that she wasn't playing the ‘woman card’ or the ‘victim card’ when she was on Karan’s show. She was playing the ‘badass card’. She lists the other ‘cards’ she has also played — the dignity card for instance, is something that has got her through her professional life just fine, thank you.
As much as she celebrates strength, she says it's perfectly okay to be vulnerable as well: the ‘woman card’ as she points out, may not win you Wimbledon trophies or National Awards, but it can get you a seat on a crowded bus; the ‘victim card’ helped her sister Rangoli fight in court, the man who threw acid on her.
2. Don't back down
Kangana doesn't get personal in her rebuttal to Karan’s statements. Instead, she lists out rejoinders: a. He didn't give her a ‘platform’ by inviting her on Koffee With Karan; b. The exchanges between them were retained for the sake of TRPs and not out of the goodness of anyone's heart; c. She's carved her own niche in the industry and if she leaves it, it will be her prerogative, not because someone else desires it.
3. Be proud of what you've achieved
Kangana delivers a gentle but pointed rebuke to Karan when she encapsulates her own journey in the industry. And she uses every card in the book — the ‘underdog card’ (referring to her modest background when she says her parents were too poor to pay for her to be formally trained in acting), the ‘dignity card’ (when she points out that her success in allowed her to pay for film school), the ‘badass card’ (when she tells Karan that his studio is a “molecule” of the industry and that the film world should be open to outsiders like her) — to win the argument.
All we can say is, well played Kangana. You're the biggest badass we know.