For someone who has apparently never met or interacted extensively with the late Sushant Singh Rajput, Kangana Ranaut certainly does seem to have a lot to say. And yes, one can very well argue that she is basing her comments on her own experiences and as such has every right to have an opinion on things. But her comments would paint a rather abysmal picture of most of the elements surrounding her life. Indeed, this writer is compelled to wonder why she continues to put up with such heinous issues with mere Twitter posts and TV interviews.
Kangana’s recent statements – that “Mumbai is feeling like Pakistan occupied Kashmir” and then the follow-up version wherein she said that it was now headed towards becoming like the Taliban – has shocked many.
And while a field trip to PoK or even Taliban dominated areas can clear this misconception right up for Kangana, one does not need to look that far. Mumbai consistently ranks among the safest cities in the country when it comes to the crime rate, even as other popular hubs of industry (such as Delhi) lag behind with thousands of additional crimes. And while this might be a ridiculous observation to make, Mumbai feels safe – both because of the police as well as the people in the city. It is warm and welcoming and at the same time allows people to lead their own lives.
I’m from Kolkata – a metro city in its own right (and the safest city as per data)– and thus there’s no glamourous ‘big metro city’ allure that Mumbai holds for me. In many ways it’s an appalling place with its traffic jams and pollution and a severely underwhelming coastline. But it is also the place that I desperately want to return to after five months at home amid the pandemic. Mumbai made me feel welcome and safe when I was a student, providing me with opportunities and support at every turn and this has continued as I began working.
It is for both these reasons that, at least for me, Kangana’s comments border on the absurd. Yes, one can argue that she was speaking in hyperbole, but this does not seem to be the case. Nor do her comments seem to be consistent. In later posts she had said that she didn’t “need to prove my love for my Karmbhoomi Mumbai who I always referred to as Maa Yashodha who adopted me”.
For someone in the film industry who has a house in Mumbai and will, in all probability, return to both after the pandemic, the comments are a tad baffling. One is perfectly within their rights to criticise the government or call out any institution for specific incidents. No city is without its flaws. But this is not the same as stating that Mumbai feels akin to Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Is Kangana trying to say that human rights violations have become rampant in Mumbai? After all, one has to remember that life in PoK is riddled with human rights abuses such as allegations of forced disappearances and torture. There is not much by way of freedom of speech, and there have also been allegations of electoral fraud. And we have to wonder, why would someone want to return to such a place. And additionally, why has this horrible state of affairs stricken a chord only with Kangana Ranaut?
Nor are many of Kangana’s comments well backed by evidence or rationale – at least going by her tweets. Her claim that the Mumbai Police was “protecting criminals” in Sushant Singh Rajput’s case or its “participation” in the Palghar lynching case are concerning.
When someone of influence speaks out on social media, thousands are persuaded to believe it is true. But vitriolic conjectures on Twitter do not serve any purpose beyond the two minutes of fame that it can occasionally give the writer.
Kangana had in the past said that she would be willing to help the police investigation into Sushant’s death, and this writer hopes without hope that she will save her allegations for such a time.
Anwesha Mitra is a Web Journalist with The Free Press Journal. All views expressed in this article are the author's own.