#Culture: Kangana Ranaut’s Valid Arguments About Sushant Singh Rajput’s Case Are Overshadowed By Her Theatrics And Personal Vendetta Against Bollywood’s Mean Girls
As someone working in the media, I have made my peace with the fact that not everything is black or white. Our world is more grey than we’d like to admit. But while I may be in a position to acknowledge that, and be skeptical of every piece of news I come across, everyone might not be. They’re likely to adhere to the dichotomy of right and wrong, innocent and guilty, or outsiders in Bollywood and resident star kids. And that is why, after watching Kangana Ranaut’s hour-long interview with Arnab Goswami on the supposed conspiracy behind Sushant Singh Rajput’s demise, I feel the need to vent—at Kangana, the film fraternity, and even my fellow audience that has an unhealthy fetish for pedestals.
Kangana Ranaut’s ‘explosive’ interview about the Bollywood Mafia orchestrating Sushant Singh Rajput’s ‘murder’
On the weekend, Kangana Ranaut was invited by Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami on his show to spill the tea on Sushant Singh Rajput’s ‘murder’ and how Bollywood Mafia brandishes its weapons to protect their right to nepotism. Which, by the way, isn’t restricted to familial relationships anymore. It involves anyone and everyone who adheres to the camps and cliques of the Mean Girls of the Hindi film industry.
From naming and shaming industry insiders like Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt, Javed Akhtar, Rajeev Masand to calling Taapsee Pannu and Swara Bhasker ‘B grade’ actresses, here are some of the key statements Kangana made during the chat:
1. Kangana questioned why Mahesh Bhatt, who has never worked with Sushant nor is associated with him in any way, was reportedly coming to his home and counselling him. It should’ve been his family or some of his directors or professionals who should’ve done that. She alleged that this could’ve been what Kai Po Che and Kedarnath director Abhishek Kapoor was talking about when he said Sushant’s death was a “systematic dismantling of a fragile mind”.
“Sushant’s girlfriend at the time Rhea in her statement mentioned Mahesh Bhatt. How is he related? Bhatt’s first AD has written how Bhatt used to counsel him. Who was Mahesh Bhatt in Sushant’s life?”
2. She spoke about how while directors like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Shekhar Kapur (who was to make Paani with Sushant) have been summoned by the Mumbai Police, why haven’t they called the likes of Aditya Chopra (they did), Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar in for questioning.
“I am not saying that anyone wanted Sushant to die, but definitely doomed. These people are emotional vultures. They want to see people lynch themselves. Why is Mumbai Police not summoning the ‘powerful four’?”
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Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself. To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~ E.E. Cummings
3. The Manikarnika actress cited several incidents from her own trysts with the industry to talk about how the media’s portrayal of her, the constant blind items and the bashing affected her mentally and drove her to consider suicide, as it would’ve Sushant as well.
“18 brands dropped me within 2 months. Maybe I didn’t have the thought of killing myself but definitely shaving my head off and disappearing. My relatives didn’t let their children meet me because you turned me into a nymphomaniac. Called me so many things in public. As a girl, having a marriage and a child is no more an option for me. They turned Sushant also into a rapist. How will he go back to Bihar? Small cities don’t value money, they value respect.”
4. She claims that ever since she called out Karan Johar as the flag bearer of nepotism on his show Koffee With Karan, the industry has had a vendetta against her. However, according to her, Sushant Singh Rajput was the only one who supported her.
“You know why I feel so responsible for this whole thing, because when I spoke about nepotism, only one person supported me, Sushant. And after that, they went for him. No outsider supported me, they went licking their feet and they got awards, the whole system, be it insider or outsider, went against me.”
5. When asked if she was willing to go on record to testify everything in writing, Kangana agreed that she thought the Mumbai Police’s investigation was lobbying for Yash Raj Films and Dharma Productions’ interests.
“They summoned me, and I asked them too, that I’m in Manali, that you can send somebody to take my statement, but I have not received anything after that. I am telling you, if I have said anything, which I can’t testify, which I can’t prove, and which is not in public domain, I will return my Padma Shri.”
You can watch the entire interview here:
Also Read: Kangana Ranaut Trends After Her Video Blaming Nepotism, Mental Harassment And Lack Of Acknowledgement For Sushant’s Suicide Goes Viral
Kangana Ranaut’s valid arguments are impaired by her personal vendetta against the industry
Sushant Singh Rajput’s death feels like a colossal personal loss to so many people. I was never a hardcore fan (and I won’t act like one to capitalise on the trend), but even I felt the pain of having such a bright star’s light go out so suddenly. Chhichhore remains one of my favourite films last year. As someone who hasn’t experienced depression but unfortunately belongs to a generation that teeters dangerously on the brink of it, I can say that unless you’re someone who directly spoke to SSR about it, you’d never know the real reason for why he did what he did.
And yet, with every passing statement, Kangana Ranaut claims that she knows exactly what happened in the actor’s life that brought him to the edge of the cliff, and eventually pushed him. The question that I, as a skeptic, want to ask here, is how does she know all of this when she claims to have been constantly pushed out by the industry. Why haven’t any of her films cast Sushant if she truly did feel that he was being wronged?
In the interview, Kangana makes countless references to the Padma Shri honour that was bestowed upon KJo. And yet, here’s a months old interview of the actress where she said KJo deserves his Padma Shri. Confused a little?
“I heartily congratulate him. I think he totally deserves this award. As a producer, the kind of films he backs, whether it is Kesari or Good Newwz, are commendable, as is the position he has worked to achieve. Even though his father gave him a head start, he has risen to the top because of his own efforts and merits.”
Also Read: Kangana Ranaut Says Karan Johar Deserves The Padma Shri. She Said He’s Put In Effort. Are They Burying The Hatchet?
When asked by Goswami if she thought the Mumbai Police was botching the investigations, Kangana suddenly pivots to talking once again about Mahesh Bhatt, and how he tried to undermine Sushant just as he tried to undermine her, but by being successful, she had proved him wrong. And yet, the very public domain she cites as the basis for all her arguments has no record of her ever speaking about Sushant’s plight before his demise, or of Sushant explicitly supporting Kangana’s stance on nepotism.
In fact, in an interview with TOI, the Dil Bechara actor was quoted saying,
“I think nepotism can co-exist with the idea of encouraging new talent from outside of the film industry. I, being an outsider, got the opportunity and luxury of choices to choose the film that I wanted to do. So I have no complaints. But having said that, if new talents won’t get a chance, and only the practice of nepotism continues, then the industry will collapse in some time.”
If Mumbai Police’s investigation reports are to be believed, Sushant was being offered multiple big films, Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted to cast him in movies but there were scheduling conflicts and YRF backed out of Shekhar Kapur’s Paani over budget issues. Again, there’s no knowing the credibility of these statements, but isn’t that the law’s job not ours?
At one point, Kangana goes on to question why a movie like Gully Boy garnered more popularity and accolades than her own Manikarnika, and that Chhichore made more money at the box office than a ‘mediocre’ film like Gully Boy. Furthermore, she labels Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chadha and Swara Bhasker as ‘B-grade’ and ‘needy’ actresses, which does more harm than good to the outsiders’ cause that she is trying to champion. Why malign your own lot? What is to be achieved by constantly going after other actresses?
Maine suna class 12th n 10th ke result ke baad humaara result bhi aa gaya hai! Humaara grade system ab official hai ? Abhi tak toh number system pe value decide hoti thi na 🤔 #MaLifeMaRulesMaShitMaPot
— taapsee pannu (@taapsee) July 19, 2020
Thanks @taapsee for highlighting that the need of the hour is solidarity and sanity. When shoots have come to a standstill,cast/crew have no jobs, we must create a positive work culture! Let's desist from anything counter-productive that'll increase toxicity in our industry!🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/CuYAuVNT7L
— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) July 19, 2020
Why hold a random response given during a juvenile game of ‘Hook-up, Marry, Kill’ on KWK as a solid argument that Sushant’s fate was foreshadowed? Are we setting too much store by the proposition of Ajnabee, “Everything is planned”?
And finally, there’s a thin line between expressing empathy and making it a personal vendetta. It’s becoming really hard to point out which is which here, as Kangana’s videos go from reasonable to ridiculous, and frankly quite tiresome.
kangana: I have strong evidence that Alia Bhat is involved in the killing of SSR
Arnab: okay, what evidence..?
Kangana: in a game called "kill, marry or date..", Alia chose to 'kill' Shushant on Koffee with Karan.. and that video is in public domain..!
— Aditya Singh Rathore (@adisinghrathore) July 19, 2020
Can we have the old Kangana Ranaut back who inflicted some really sharp cuts on Bollywood’s problematic fabric?
Kangana Ranaut has always been this bold and fearless professional who isn’t afraid of calling a spade a spade. I remember the days when she did the Aap Ki Adalat interview, which gave us memes but also gave us a different perspective at how demeaning Bollywood can be towards women who question its misogynistic politics. Do you remember the Kangana who did the AIB video ‘The Bollywood Diva Song’, which felt like a resounding slap on the face of misogyny rampant in Bollywood?
Where is she now and can we have more of that?
Some of the points put forth by Kangana Ranaut in the interview deserve to be probed further. I laud her for being relentless in her crusade against the problems that outsiders face in the industry. Karan Johar mocking Kangana in an international forum like a platform before the London School of Economics’ students is wrong. Us clapping because he sounded witty? Pathetic. Alia Bhatt’s supporting role in Gully Boy winning Best Actress over Kangana’s spectacular act in Judgementall Hai Kya or Bhumi Pednekar’s Sochiriya and Taapsee Pannu’s Saand Ki Aankh do seem unfair.
Bollywood’s known for its distraction tactics and it’s not far-fetched to assume that the salacious gossip and blind items are meant to harm an actor’s reputation without landing in libel/slander lawsuits. Just as there is no denying that good actors are losing out on projects due to nepotism, with star kids replacing them in prestigious films despite not having an iota of talent.
However, thanks to Kangana’s unpleasant way of bashing the industry, even the most important aspects of her argument are being sidelined by the theatrics of it all. She’s now being perceived as someone who loves to stir up a ruckus for publicity, and is trying to leverage SSR’s death for her own personal agenda. Not to mention, she has been losing respect of some of her fans because she just cannot stop putting down others to raise her own point.
I really respect #KanganaRanaut as one of our best actors but I am deeply disappointed by the language she has used for @taapsee and @ReallySwara — and I can effortlessly say both things in the same sentence. Insider/outsider, one can’t say this for anyone. उन्हें शोभा नहीं देता।
— Neelesh Misra (@neeleshmisra) July 19, 2020
Hold the right people responsible, starting with the audience
Nepotism is born of a very basic human instinct of protecting one’s own. Not just Bollywood, but every sphere of our life is deeply nepotistic in its conduct. As I watch my sibling take over my family business, I am reminded that we do what we do so that we may offer our children better lives. So blaming Bollywood for pandering to this basic need would be unfair and impractical.
But, as Sushant Singh Rajput and several other outsiders have spoken in their interviews, nepotism and talent can co-exist. And contrary to popular belief, the onus of that is not on the industry alone but majorly on the audience that consumes their content. We star-struck folks are so obsessed with knowing about stars and their cubs, that we jump at the chance of spending money to watch their movies and then bash their bad acting than buying tickets to watch outsiders who have so much talent.
Bollywood is a business ultimately, and the money goes where the consumer goes. Kangana Ranaut’s outrage is valid, but it should perhaps be directed more at the audience as well. And for the sake of the cause that she is championing, please cut down on the personal and political agenda and focus on the important stuff—like the mental health of these industry outsiders and how to build a better workplace for them.