Why Kangana Ranaut's curiously timed rants against fellow Bollywood stars are getting tiresome
Kangana’s voice and stance on various issues stood out as unique and inspiring. Not anymore.
Kangana Ranaut has spoken out (again) against ‘Bollywood’, a film fraternity that lives in the lap of luxury and suckles on general indifference towards everyday reality; and the first look of her upcoming film was released soon after. This is yet another instance of Hindi film folk being targeted on a public platform by Kangana and/or her sister, and one which is curiously timed.
Once the face of anti-nepotism and voice of genuine talent, the media and common people lauded Kangana for her outspokenness and brazen spontaneous statements when she took on Karan Johar on his gossipy talk show, Koffee with Karan. That Johar, a powerful face of Hindi films, dealt her a low-blow with Varun Dhawan on an overseas awards show, shouting out ‘nepotism rocks’, only cemented Kangana’s repute as the lone upright voice of reason in a film industry packed with clannish ties. Then she took on Hrithik Roshan for allegedly misleading her in love, washing their dirty linen (purported romantic emails) in public. In the white noise generated around Kangana’s ‘hurt’ feelings and Hrithik’s alleged muscle flexing to silence her, the core issue of adultery that the star had also committed was lost. Hrithik was married when Kangana and he reportedly had a roaring affair for years.
With popular discourse veering in support of #MeToo conversations and gender discrimination catching up, Kangana’s voice and stances on various issues stood out as unique and inspiring.
Of late, Kangana Ranaut has made it a point to lampoon movie stars and film folk alike without provocation. This has come to the forefront during the CAA protests raging across Indian campuses and metro cities. An issue that goes to the heart of this country’s identity and historical culture of assimilation, CAA protests reflect a great divide between liberal thinking and right-wing values. But for Kangana, it’s worth hijacking to get attention; even if facts speak against her argument. Just a day before, she called Bollywood ‘spineless’ and cowardly for not speaking up on CAA and took a swipe at film industry insiders for having electricity and therefore being disconnected from real issues. This is her umpteenth direct response to Ranbir Kapoor’s cheeky remark to paparazzi that he has electricity, a comment that he had made in response to yet another Kangana dig at his ‘privilege’ in the past.
Adding to her dramatic reaction, and rather confusing remark, Kangana’s sister Rangoli Ranaut has been attacking Bollywood without filter on twitter. Her language is crass, remarks are below the belt and observations factually incorrect. Kangana has her sister and manager voice her opinions online regularly. This time, Rangoli has used a ‘friend’ to cite that Jamia Millia Islamia students join the ISIS; and protestors are basically stone pelting aggressors. Not once has she bothered to look at facts on ground before going on a verbally abusive rant. Most of what she has said, as is often the case, doesn’t make any sense.
Prior to Kangana, a few Hindi film folk spoke out against these protests on social media. (Also read on Firstpost: Amid nationwide CAA protests, Bollywood stays mostly mum: It's time to move from reel posturing to real action.)
Interestingly, this latest outpouring of bile online occurs around the poster release of Panga, an upcoming Kangana Ranaut film directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari. The strategy is obvious. Make some noise in typical Kangana rebel mode to get attention for her film. In this process, also take rude jibes at whatever person/publication/trend that doesn't align with her strategies or plan.
Consistent behavior by a massive celebrity where one picks a fight with others makes one wonder why would someone do that in the first place. Dr Chinmay Kulkarni, a Mumbai-based psychiatrist, explains, “This is attention-seeking behavior. Some people feel extremely uncomfortable when they are not the center of attention. Many celebrities in the glamour industry behave in a dramatic, socially inappropriate way. The moment their actions give them the attention they want, the reward pleasure pathway in the brain is activated. This further reinforces their attention-seeking behavior. Such people also have a distorted self-image. They need constant novelty, stimulation and get frustrated if they don’t get that. They are impulsive in nature and focus on immediate gratification..”
Dr Kulkarni’s analysis syncs in with Kangana and her sister’s tendency to aggressively ‘speak out’ and take on ‘critics’ of her blinding talent. For instance, all of 2019 has been about hitting out at Taapsee Pannu, a younger actor who has been getting meaty roles and has made impact with her performances. Pannu spoke back aggressively a few times. But citing the level of their ‘language’, she has now backed down. Rangoli also took on Alia Bhatt calling her talentless and Karan Johar flunky, but the younger star simply didn’t respond.
When provocation didn’t work, both sisters snapped out at anyone that criticised or made fun of her look as Jayalalitha in an upcoming Tamil film, Thalaivi. A case of prosthetics taking a comic turn, Ranaut’s sister ranted for a couple of days then she compared her look to Lincoln, a Steven Spielberg film starring Daniel Day Lewis, in terms of quality.
A spat with media persons in Mumbai earlier this year also provides a window into the workings of Kangana’s mind. She accused a journalist of having lunch with her and then attacking her self proclaimed masterpiece, Manikarnika. The journalists decided to ‘ban’ her for a bit and then backed out with full length interviews. But that notwithstanding, Kangana’s reactions on a public platform reflected a tendency to snatch the limelight on to herself just when a film (Judgmental Hai Kya) was set to release.
While grabbing headlines has landed her a fan following and lucrative work opportunities, her tactics are getting transparent and frankly, tiring. Students and citizens don’t really care about celebrities enough to stay loyal if they anger public sentiment. So unless Kangana has political ambitions aligned with the BJP and saffron brigade, she would do well to temper her impulsive tendencies.
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