Bollywood’s queen of controversies Kangana Ranaut on Monday said her ugly outburst at a news agency journalist at an event in Mumbai last week happened because she was “fed up” with a section of journalists ganging up against her for speaking up against certain Bollywood biggies such as Hrithik Roshan and Karan Johar.
“If you are referring to the recent media incident, honestly, I noted that since I have raised my voice against certain Bollywood biggies — whether it is Hrithik Roshan, Karan Johar or any other — a lot of that Mumbai media has ganged up against me,” said Ranaut.
On Monday, even as most of the journalistic community continued to boycott her, Ranaut seemed in the mood to hold out an olive branch to the press. About losing her cool at last week’s event, however, she continued to suggest that the media was to blame.
“A lot of nasty stories are reported everyday and that has been going on for the past two to three years. I was just so fed up. Everything that happened was just a reaction to that kind of pressure, because of all the maligning and smear campaign against me. Otherwise, I feel I have earned a lot of goodwill. Even in media I have great friends and some great advisers,” said the actress.
Ranaut’s tiff with Johar began in 2017 when she had called the filmmaker “intolerant” towards outsiders and a “flag-bearer of nepotism”, on his popular chat show ‘Koffee With Karan’.
When it comes to Roshan, the actor and Ranaut were involved in a row that began after she hinted that Roshan was her “ex-boyfriend”. This was followed by an exchange of legal complaints and mudslinging.
Her recent spat with the media community happened when, at the launch of the song, ‘The Wakhra Swag’ last week, Ranaut questioned a journalist over his negative remarks on her last release, ‘Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi’.
“I have friends in the media who I would call and have broken down in front of them, and they have never written about it. But like I say ‘everyone who call themselves an actor are not actors’, similarly the media people who abuse their position of power to bully a girl or to gang up on someone are not pursuing what I consider journalism,” said Ranaut.
The Members of the Entertainment Journalists’ Guild of India (EJGI) on July 10 collectively decided to boycott Ranaut and demanded a public apology following the ugly spat between the national award-winning actress and a journalist.
The incident happened at the launch of ‘Wakhra Swag’ song from Ranaut’s upcoming film ‘JudgeMentall Hai Kya’. The members have now sent a letter to the film’s producer Ekta Kapoor, terming the actress’s behaviour as “uncalled-for”.
Has Ranaut’s attitude indeed become uncalled for? Has success made her intolerant towards criticism?
“Criticism, bullying and trolling are different things. Criticism in Hindi is ‘samiksha’. If you are analysing a film like ‘JudgeMentall Hai Kya’, [it] can be analysed in a certain way. But if you make a ‘Bhagat Singh’ or ‘Rang De Basanti’ or ‘Manikarnika: Queen Of Jhansi’ [you have to have a different approach]. You cannot analyse Bobby [her character in ‘Judgementall Hai Kya’] and [freedom fighter] Lakshmi Bai the same way. There are strict rules,” she stressed.
Ranaut says she would not mind if people make fun of her but asserted that a martyr’s name should not be made light of.
“You cannot make fun of a martyr’s name. It is not acceptable. Can you make fun of Bobby? Yes. Can you make fun of me? Yes. These are very clear guidelines. I was upset about somebody distorting a martyr’s name,” she said.
“That was hurtful. Maybe I became sensitive because I studied her life in detail. But I am certain if I was not playing Rani Laxmi Bai, it would still be deeply hurtful to hear something like that,” she said.