The Tale of a Woman in a Man’s Industry
It was the year 2006, when as part of our undergraduate program, our class was shown “Woh Lamhe”, a movie based on Parveen Babi’s life, and her struggle with Schizophrenia. Till date, it is one of the most accurate portrayals of a mental disorder in a Hindi film. One of the main reasons for that was the incredible performance by Kangana Ranaut.
Its been 10 years since her debut in Gangster, and Kangana has broken all myths associated with Bollywood. She has singlehandedly driven many movies to success, won 29 awards, of which three are National Awards (a huge achievement for a mainstream actress), and received accolades from public and critics alike, for her diverse range of roles. Yet today, she stands victimized by the very industry which gave her the “Queen” status.
Caught in a legal controversy with star kid Hrithik Roshan, many (male) members of Bollywood have lashed out against her, leveling allegations of her being a witch, psychopath, a stalker, and many other such unbecoming names.
We live in a country where our right to speak our mind is celebrated. Yet, it is important to remember that abusing this privilege is not right. We condemn this name calling and this instant humiliation of a woman in a male dominated industry. Why is it that a Salman Khan is shown all sorts of solidarity by the same industry, when he was caught in a murder case? Why does a Sanjay Dutt get a hero’s welcome on his return from jail and immediately offered dozens of films? And why is a Kangana being spoken out against so venomously? Is it because she doesn’t belong to any camp? Or doesn’t have a filmy background to speak of?
Having kept quiet for so long, Kangana finally spoke up her mind in an interview with Barkha Dutt, on the eve of her third National Award victory, and silenced all her critics in one go. Her interview reveals a strong personality, who is not willing to bow down to the pressures which society and Bollywood is placing on her. We are by no means commenting on the legal case, as the matter is still subjudice. We are not taking sides. But we do condemn this behavior by Bollywood towards Kangana. It is high time that Bollywood, for all its glitz and glamour, sits back and reflects on its inherent archaic notions about its women.
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