Kangana Ranaut shakes up Bollywood!

As Kangana Ranaut hits out at several Bollywood biggies vis-à-vis bullying and nepotism, we talk to filmmakers, actors and industry insiders to see how things are panned out in the industry
Kangana Ranaut lashed out at Aditya Chopra, Javed Akhtar, Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt in a recent interview.
Kangana Ranaut lashed out at Aditya Chopra, Javed Akhtar, Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt in a recent interview.
Updated on Jul 20, 2020 12:25 AM IST
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Referring to Bollywood heavyweights as “movie mafia”, Kangana Ranaut – in an interview with a TV channel – has hit out at several top names such as Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt and Javed Akhtar etc. The actor, while highlighting the discrimination in the Hindi film industry, spoke about how her career as well as financial prospects was targeted, and that biggies of the industry attempted to corner her.

Ranaut further said that the ‘movie mafia’ had “systematically sabotaged” late Sushant Singh Rajput’s career. She accused Chopra’s Yash Raj Films [YRF] of being responsible for causing mental harassment to Rajput, and that Johar made Drive to sabotage the late actor’s career. She also stated that YRF didn’t allow Rajput to work in filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films, while adding that the ongoing interrogation by Mumbai Police is a “complete sham”, as they have failed to summon powerful people.  

Industry insiders, though, have diverse point of views. Director Hansal Mehta says: “Group-ism exists, and it exists everywhere. People do tend to form support groups but the problem arises when there is targeting and bullying, which can really hit you badly.” For actor Gulshan Devaiah, in Bollywood, everything eventually boils down to the “perception.” He says: “Here, one actor is perceived to be better suited or perceived on the basis of his market value. And [as an artist], that can be extremely disappointing as well as extremely taxing.”

Ranaut, on her part, has said that she was threatened by Chopra when she refused to work in Salman Khan-starrer Sultan and told her that her “career is finished”, besides the fact that at one point, she even contemplated committing suicide after facing systematic targeting. The actor revealed that Bhatt had once thrown his footwear at her when she rejected his film and questioned its content. She has, quite surprisingly, gone on to say that she was ready to return her Padma Shri if she failed to prove her claims/statements. Ranaut even said that Akhtar had asked her to apologise to Hrithik Roshan [after their personal life details became public] or she will commit suicide as she would have no other place to go. 

Actor Taapsee Pannu, though, says she “refuses to be bitter”. “I also refuse to take advantage of someone’s death for personal vendetta, and make a mockery of the industry that gave me my bread and identity. I have had my share of struggles but just because I don’t glorify and deal with them with a positive outlook, it doesn’t make me any less of the ‘outsider’,” says Pannu. Filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia readily admits that “group-ism exists in the industry” but at the same adds that as far as nepotism goes, it exists in “every sphere” of life. “But ultimately, one has to prove himself/herself, regardless of family’s name,” he says.

Talking of nepotism, Ranaut has said in the interview that a “mediocre” film like Gully Boy got awards while Rajput-starrer Chhichhore was totally neglected. Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri feels “anybody who speaks up will be isolated” by the Bollywood biggies. “Kangana has taken a very big risk. They even isolated me when I spoke up. Anybody who speaks against them, they are out.” Model-actor Muzamil Ibrahim feels the points raised [by Ranaut] are “very valid.” He says: “When a talent comes in the industry, I think the people in the industry should be a little more unbiased.”

Kangana’s ex-boyfriend and actor Adhyayan Suman, who referred to her as “brave” on his social media, feels “level playing field is all we are fighting for.” He says: “Sometimes, it’s important to let go of your past and support someone who is trying to fight for the greater good. A lot of people don’t speak up as they are scared but she did. No one has the right to bully anyone in this industry.” 

Simi Garewal finds Kangana Ranaut to be ‘brave’

On Saturday night, former actor and TV show host Simi Garewal lauded Ranaut for her “brave” comments highlighting nepotism and bullying in the Hindi film industry. She tweeted: “I applaud #KanganaRanaut who is braver & bolder than I am. Only I know how a ‘powerful’ person has viciously tried to destroy my career. I stayed silent. Because I am not so brave….” The Mera Naam Joker actor also tweeted that Ranaut’s interview left her “quite depressed.” “When George Floyd was killed in America it set forth an awakening. In the same way #SushantSingRajput’s death may be the harbinger of an awakening in Bollywood (sic).”

(With inputs from Juhi Chakraborty, Prashant Singh and Kavita Awaasthi)

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