Kangana Ranaut is not a loose cannon, but a political silver bullet
If Kangana joins the BJP and goes to Parliament, she will be quite an addition to its women firepower
Actor Hrithik Roshan had accused her of being an incoherent stalker suffering from Asperger’s. Ever since she turned vocally nationalistic, mainstream media started hinting that she is an outlier, misfit and a troublemaker. Now that actor Kangana Ranaut has launched a no-holds-barred attack on her own pond of fish, calling out Bollywood gang lords on nepotism to narcotics, the general verdict in urban, English-speaking liberal circles is clear: She is unhinged.
But if one studies how the story of the Bollywood 'Queen' is unfolding, how apparently unrelated pieces are falling into place to give us a glimpse of a larger motif, one begins to notice a method to the madness.
There is little doubt that Kangana is not Bollywood normal. But Indian politics may yet allow for her amount of crazy. Just that much. Not much more.
Both A-lister and victim
Kangana is a marvel of nature for Indian politics. She is both a Bollywood A-Lister as well as the victim of industry nepotism and cliques, at least in public perception. It can’t get better for the BJP, where her ideological inclinations seem to lie, to have her in its arsenal.
Also, she is indomitably pugnacious, whether it is about taking on Hrithik over their contested relationship or calling out on prime time big industry names like Karan Johar for nepotism and moral corruption. Her personal story of being exploited as a struggling actor by the likes of industry old-timer Aditya Pancholi is well-circulated.
In short, Kangana is the perfect victim-cum-attack weapon against Bollywood, a large section of which has concertedly done the bidding for Narendra Modi’s opponents while scrambling for photo-ops with the prime minister.
Being a Maha-target is a boon
A blustering Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra regime just made her way bigger than even her considerable stardom by crass, relentless targeting. Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut calling her ‘haramkhor’, concerted attack of the film gang enamoured by Aaditya Thackeray whose links in the Sushant Singh Rajput case are under tremendous scrutiny and speculation, and the vindictive demolition of her office premises by Mumbai civic authorities have made her a formidable, pan-India political figure even before her entering active politics.
Small-town girl defends small-town boy
Tiny elitist circles may disparage her as a drama queen, but in millions of ordinary Indian homes, the Kangana Ranaut story is playing out quite differently. She had already been planted in their mythology as Jhansi ki Rani after her Manikarnika, and now she is living up to it.
For them, Kangana is the brave, small-town girl from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh standing up for Sushant, the wronged small-town boy from Bihar. It could be an asset not just in the forthcoming Bihar elections, but anywhere with the vast, rising, hardworking and ambitious neo-middle class.
The Rajput-Kshatriya angle
NCP chief Sharad Pawar does not come out to make a statement just because he loves seeing himself in the media. He is long past the need for airtime.
So, when on Wednesday he made a cryptic statement bordering on condemnation of the BMC rampage on Kangana’s premises, there was urgency.
Marathas, the biggest and most influential caste in Maharashtra that Pawar himself represents, identify themselves as Kshatriyas or Rajputs. Kangana is a Kshatriya. Pawar must have sensed that the Maharashtra government’s hounding of Kangana would not go down well with the Marathas.
Already, Kshatriya bodies from states like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have jumped in to protest. This is a caste camaraderie which cuts across India and even across religions. Many Kshatriya-origin families that had converted to Christianity or Islam still hold on to that pride.
Kangana is gold in that caste mine.
Does BJP have a new Smriti?
Bollywood liberals may wear ‘Smash the Patriarchy’ tees in solidarity with Sushant case accused Rhea Chakraborty, but Kangana's shrill rebellion is playing out as pure nari shakti in Middle India.
Her story already has resemblance with BJP’s giant killer Smriti Irani’s. Like Smriti, Kangana is a woman who came from an ordinary family to the entertainment world, struggled against all odds to rise to the top of her game, is a rebel, speaks brilliantly, and has the ability to overwhelm opponents far more intellectually reputed than her.
If Kangana joins the BJP and goes to Parliament, she will be quite an addition to its women firepower.
Unashamed, glam Hindutva voice
Kangana has repeatedly proclaimed herself as a proud Hindu who loves her puja. She recently posted a photo on Twitter of her at the Isha Yoga centre with a loaded message on transition; perhaps from filmdom to activism and politics.
This is one of my most favourite pictures, it is from my aashram Isha Yoga center, nothing is planned a very spontaneous capture but somehow depicts transition so beautifully 🙂 pic.twitter.com/MMuXpdJzLx
— Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) September 10, 2020
When veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah called her ‘half-educated’, she snapped back saying, “Naseeruddin Shah does not think that I am a half-educated starlet. He is angry because I praised Modi-ji and Hinduism and because I am proud of my religion and background, rather than being ashamed of these.”
Hindutva never had such an unapologetic voice at the topmost rung of young Bollywood. For an ideology the industry had condemned to the shadows, it is like a sherpa’s flag on Everest.
Kangana Ranaut is not a particle in random motion. She is now a killer plot in politics. It is up to her to keep that plot on course. Many would love to see it wander into chaotic oblivion.
Views expressed are personal
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