Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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Of security & demons

Of security & demons

Kangana has become Bollywood’s bete noire but the Y-plus security makes her a pawn in a larger political game

Several years ago, the fiery Kangana Ranaut appeared on the cult Bollywood talk show called Koffee with Karan hosted by producer Karan Johar. To paraphrase from that outing of hers, she said that if a film was ever to be made about her life, Johar would be the antagonist. Over the past few years, we have seen how that has played out. First, there was the story about nepotism and how Bollywood promotes its own, and while the Indian film industry epitomises nepotism, it really is not very unique in that regard. Anywhere in the world or in India, nepotism is a byword in politics and industry. So when popular Bihari actor Sushant Singh Rajput allegedly committed suicide, Kangana was one of the first to climb onto the bandwagon to accuse the nepotism of Bollywood of pushing a young actor over the edge before quickly jumping on to the murder conspiracy theory. And then from a crusader, she appeared more and more like a headline-grabber. She has written utterly shameful tweets against mental health, questioning the very concepts of psychology, and taken on the Shiv Sena, a partner in the Maharashtra alliance government, with several party spokespersons attacking her. There is no doubt that with little to no formal media training and reverting to type, Shiv Sena leaders come across as uncouth, sexist goons while attacking Kangana, who is playing her pro-BJP card well and using it to give ammunition to the Central party’s relentless attack on its one-time ally. So she has been given Y plus category security by the Central Government to make a point, never mind the costs this will involve or the purpose it will serve. That possibly will not save her office from being demolished by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which is controlled by the Shiv Sena, an act that, if the Sena goes ahead with, will allow the once-plucky Kangana to play the victim yet again.

While the actor is entitled to her opinions, it would be prudent for her to remember that the past can come back to haunt you. Her actions today, that make her look like a pawn, will be judged by many in the future and while she has in the past raised some very valid points against the extreme nepotism in the film industry, where a talentless child of a superstar gets breaks that others would not, that model itself is being broken by new streaming platforms and more choices. Bollywood itself will not survive the Coronavirus pandemic in any recognisable shape or form. The actions of the television media in amplifying some of the wilder allegations raised by Kangana and others of her ilk have also been shameful and must be questioned. This entire affair will leave India, the Indian media and Bollywood scarred for years to come.

Of security & demons

Of security & demons

Kangana has become Bollywood’s bete noire but the Y-plus security makes her a pawn in a larger political game

Several years ago, the fiery Kangana Ranaut appeared on the cult Bollywood talk show called Koffee with Karan hosted by producer Karan Johar. To paraphrase from that outing of hers, she said that if a film was ever to be made about her life, Johar would be the antagonist. Over the past few years, we have seen how that has played out. First, there was the story about nepotism and how Bollywood promotes its own, and while the Indian film industry epitomises nepotism, it really is not very unique in that regard. Anywhere in the world or in India, nepotism is a byword in politics and industry. So when popular Bihari actor Sushant Singh Rajput allegedly committed suicide, Kangana was one of the first to climb onto the bandwagon to accuse the nepotism of Bollywood of pushing a young actor over the edge before quickly jumping on to the murder conspiracy theory. And then from a crusader, she appeared more and more like a headline-grabber. She has written utterly shameful tweets against mental health, questioning the very concepts of psychology, and taken on the Shiv Sena, a partner in the Maharashtra alliance government, with several party spokespersons attacking her. There is no doubt that with little to no formal media training and reverting to type, Shiv Sena leaders come across as uncouth, sexist goons while attacking Kangana, who is playing her pro-BJP card well and using it to give ammunition to the Central party’s relentless attack on its one-time ally. So she has been given Y plus category security by the Central Government to make a point, never mind the costs this will involve or the purpose it will serve. That possibly will not save her office from being demolished by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which is controlled by the Shiv Sena, an act that, if the Sena goes ahead with, will allow the once-plucky Kangana to play the victim yet again.

While the actor is entitled to her opinions, it would be prudent for her to remember that the past can come back to haunt you. Her actions today, that make her look like a pawn, will be judged by many in the future and while she has in the past raised some very valid points against the extreme nepotism in the film industry, where a talentless child of a superstar gets breaks that others would not, that model itself is being broken by new streaming platforms and more choices. Bollywood itself will not survive the Coronavirus pandemic in any recognisable shape or form. The actions of the television media in amplifying some of the wilder allegations raised by Kangana and others of her ilk have also been shameful and must be questioned. This entire affair will leave India, the Indian media and Bollywood scarred for years to come.

Of security & demons

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