Javed Akhtar files criminal defamation
complaint against Kangana Ranaut in Sushant Singh Rajput death case

Lyricist Javed Akhtar filed a criminal defamation complaint before a magistrate court against actor Kangana Ranaut on Monday, in connection with an interview given by her to Arnab Goswami on the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, in which she called Akhtar part of a particular gang.

He has sought that she be summoned and tried by the court for the offence. In his complaint, he has called the statements made by her in an interview aired on Republic TV/Republic Bharat on July 20 this year titled 'Kangana Ranaut with Arnab Goswami in Nation Wants to Know’, an “outright canard”, “highly malicious” and one which has lowered his dignity before right-thinking members of society, the film fraternity, friends and acquaintances.

In the course of the 57-minute interview, the accused, Akhtar said, proceeded to give her opinion on the circumstances around the death of Sushant Singh Rajput without appearing to have any direct personal knowledge of it. She had referred to filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt during the interview, it added, and then proceeded to name Akhtar entirely without context.

Akhtar said his name had been needlessly dragged into an unconnected sensitive matter and the action was tantamount to extending veiled threats to him. The incident described by Kangana in the interview never took place, he said and added that she had chosen to defame him with ulterior motives, to amplify her public presence at the cost of his reputation.

The complaint further said that he, as a senior member of the film fraternity, had merely counselled Kangana to settle what was a private dispute between her and another actor so that they could both proceed to concentrate on their respective careers. He emphasised that he did not make any statements of the kind alleged by Kangana in the interview.

Kangana has benefited from the interview, the complaint stated, which is evident from the 60 lakh viewings of a YouTube video of it and its being covered by various publications, print and online.

Akhtar, a Padmabhushan and Padmashri recipient, a five-time national awardee for best lyricist with a career spanning 55 years, said he was shocked by the interview, which is also available on the channel's website. He said he received numerous calls from various individuals regarding her statements and was aggrieved.

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