Called ‘The Queen of Bollywood’ for her exceptional talent and multitude of prestigious awards, yet branded ironically as the Drama Queen of Bollywood for always being in the centre of a controversy, Kangana Ranaut is anything but a mere “love interest”. She has definitely carved a niche for herself as a self-sustaining actor who doesn’t need the presence of a male actor on-screen to support the movie; a phenomenon that is quite rare in the Hindi film industry. If you have been up to date with the latest happenings on this issue, you’d now that Kangana has been bashed numerous times for the things she says during her interviews. When she tagged Karan Johar as “the flag bearer of nepotism”, she was called out at a major award function, in front of thousands of people, by Johar himself. When she called out Shah Rukh Khan for putting the actress’ name before his (while still getting paid more since he is always the male lead) in AIB’s latest video, she received hate from his fans on Twitter. She is often said to have the “balls” to say “bold” things like these (as if having a vagina automatically means that you’re timid and meek), but there is some truth to the words she speaks. On more than one occasion, she has spoken up against the unfair treatment that female actors are meted in the Industry, and how one needs to keep “adjusting” to all the male dominance in order to make it ‘big’ in the industry.
No amount of hate or backlash has caused Kangana to hesitate while making headlines with her “daring” statements about the biggest names in the Industry. And why should she hesitate? She has proved all her opposition wrong by continuing to be a great actor, by choosing movies that are independent of any male presence in the lead roles, and by not caring about what Karan Johar has to say about her views on nepotism. In short, Kangana Ranaut didn’t back down – and there is no reason for her to do so.
I don’t write this article to defend Kangana or justify her very public spat with Hrithik Roshan, but to defend a woman’s position in a professional space, especially in the Hindi film industry – a business that basically runs on the actress’ cleavage and skills to dance to nauseating lyrics. Bollywood’s sexism is not only limited to objectifying a woman’s body though, as this industry even looks down upon a woman’s talents as an artist. Financial equality is another forgotten basic human right, amongst many others, and these unfair means of treatment are reflected in other professional spaces as well. When women are only seen as objects of desire in the most successful movies, year after year, would anyone treat them differently in real life?