Why Hrithik and Kangana controversy doesn't end
They have shown poor judgement in handling a row that's now out of control.
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The very public and very messy spat between Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan got another extension on October 5, with Hrithik now claiming to "defend the truth", and Kangana's lawyer and her sister responding swiftly.
Postin d mail frm Hrithik 2Kangna here nt fr petty gosip bt 2 shw dat he usd I pad fr comunicatin wid hr Nt d laptop pic.twitter.com/hl9vZB8MKm— Rangoli Chandel (@Rangoli_A) October 5, 2017
In a Facebook post, Hrithik has claimed that he has found it difficult to defend himself because "people are comfortable with a lie because it doesn't threaten their model of the world where a girl is the victim and the man the aggressor". He goes on to add:
"I have been dragged into a dirty perverse mess without a choice in the matter. This is something that is not of my making."
While it is imprudent and unfair to draw conclusions and brand either party as martyr or liar, both Hrithik and Kangana are to blame for this unnecessary and undesirable mess, which now seems to have spiralled beyond their control.
Kangana has been the more vocal of the two, speaking on the issue several times, including on the "viral" Aap ki Adalat episode. However, Hrithik cannot very well claim that the controversy is not of his making.
Of silly exes and dating the pope
Kangana's first comment - the original sin, as it were - had only mentioned "silly exes", when asked by Pinkvilla.com to comment on rumours of being dropped from Aashiqui 3. It was Hrithik who responded to that comment, tweeting he was more likely to "date the pope", which inadvertently confirmed his link to the issue.
He was also the first to slap a legal notice on Kangana, asking her to come clean on the issue and apologise, to which she responded with another legal notice.
Kangana Ranaut has emerged as an important voice in Bollywood, speaking out on issues that artists have traditionally sidestepped. Photo: India Today
The controversy centres around email exchanges between the two actors, with Hrithik claiming Kangana "sent him a barrage of mails", and Kangana accusing him of hacking into her account and sending those mails to himself. Hrithik has also claimed that Kangana had been corresponding with an impostor.
Many voices on both sides
As the issue turned progressively uglier, Kangana's sister Rangoli Chandel emerged as a fierce defender of her sister. With Rangoli consistently attacking Hrithik, eventually, the actor's father Rakesh Roshan and his ex-wife Suzanne spoke out in his defence. The film industry rose up too, with Karan Johar, script writer Apurva Asrani, Farah Khan, speaking out in Hrithik's support.
No credit to either of them
While the controversy seems unlikely to die down any time soon, it has done no credit to either of them. Both Hrithik and Kangana have a respectable body of work behind them, and did not need a personal, poisonous campaign to stay in the headlines. While Kangana has been lauded for her fearless stands in an industry where women have long been exploited, there is a difference between speaking out and washing dirty linen in public.
While Hrithik has found ready defenders, Kangana has been accused of "misusing feminism", only underlining the misogyny in society. [A still from Krrish 3]
Critics of the actor have sought to draw a contrast between the "shrill" attacks from Rangoli and the calmer responses of Hrithik and his family. However, Hrithik has deep roots in the industry. Also, in patriarchal Bollywood, a male actor is far more likely to weather a storm unscathed than a woman. If the Ranauts' response has been more hysterical, it is because they have more to lose, as the far fiercer attacks on Kangana from other industry faces show.
Kangana Ranaut has emerged as an important voice in Bollywood, speaking out on issues that artists have traditionally avoided stepping on. Whichever side people pick on the Hrithik controversy, it should not discredit Kangana's stand on other issues. A lot of criticism of Kangana on social media has centered around how feminism "allows women to vilify men". Such comments only show how prevalent misogyny is in our society, and further underline the importance of a voice like Kangana's.
Both the actors have shown poor judgement in dealing with this issue. However, it will be unfair to reduce either to this one controversy alone.