Kangana Ranaut is raging, and the demolition of her office by BMC workers doesn’t seem to have helped matters. But what is the controversy all about and what has got her goat so much that she equated Mumbai to PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) and the Maharashtra government to Taliban?
Her outbursts started immediately after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death while narrating her “experiences” in Bollywood. Her anger was against the people who “call the shots” in the industry and who don’t allow “outsiders” to thrive.
Alleging that groupism and nepotism were rampant in Bollywood, she said people had tried to stifle her career because she was an “outsider”, just like “they did with Sushant”.
Ranaut then alleged that stories were being made up about Sushant Singh’s mental illness to run a “parallel narrative” to make it seem that he was “weak”.
She didn’t stop at that. She claimed that Sushant was killed because he knew “some dirty secrets” about the industry.
“I am more than willing to help @narcoticsbureau but I need protection from the centre government, I have not only risked my career but also my life, it is quiet evident Sushanth knew some dirty secrets that’s why he has been killed.”
She posted the tweet after investigating agencies began to probe drug dealings in connection with the case. She said that she had seen first-hand drugs flowing in Bollywood with many stars being addicts. Cocaine was the most preferred drug and it was used in most Bollywood parties, she said.
“I was still a minor my mentor turned tormentor used to spike my drinks and sedate me to prevent me from going to cops, when I became successful and got entry into the most famous film parties I was exposed to the most shocking and sinister world and drugs, debauchery and mafia,” she tweeted on August 26.
Sushant may have been drugged to “break his mind or to create a controversy around his murder. Sushant did not come from a family that would consume hard drugs like LSD”, she said.
As she continued to make allegations, the Mumbai police maintained that Sushant Singh had committed suicide. She criticised the force questioning their investigations. This was the genesis of a bigger controversy.
In response to her attack on the Mumbai police, BJP leader Ram Kadam tweeted: “Kudos to your bravery Kanganaji ! Would like to humbly point out that Mumbai Police is an extremely efficient force but it is Maharashtra Govt’s callousness that is affecting their image. This govt’s selfishness has really degraded Mumbai Police’s glorious past.”
Her response had the Shiv Sena fuming. She said: “I am actually more scared of Mumbai police now than movie mafia goons, in Mumbai I would need security either from HP government or directly from the Centre, No Mumbai police please.”
Later, she flew off the handle when the police commissioner of Mumbai allegedly liked a social media post that called for her to be publicly shamed. This, she said, again made her feel unsafe in Mumbai. “@CPMumbaiPolice is openly intimidating me like this, encouraging bullying and crime against me, will I be safe in Mumbai? Who is responsible for my safety?,” she tweeted.
The mention of Mumbai was enough to tick off the Shiv Sena. Its leader Sanjay called her comments ‘treachery’ because she was criticising the Mumbai police despite working in the city to make a living. “We request her not to come to Mumbai. This is nothing but an insult to the Mumbai police. The Home Ministry should take action over it,” Raut wrote in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
Ranaut refused to be cowed down to what she called was a threat that made Mumbai seem like Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. “Sanjay Raut Shiv Sena leader has given me an open threat and asked me not to come back to Mumbai, after Aazadi graffitis in Mumbai streets and now open threats, why Mumbai is feeling like Pakistan occupied Kashmir?,” she tweeted.
Her criticism of the Mumbai police got the Maharashtra government also involved, with home Minister Anil Deshmukh saying that “she has no right to live in Maharashtra or Mumbai” for questioning the competence of the Mumbai police.
Ranaut retorted saying the government was acting like the Taliban. “He is taking his own calls on my democratic rights, from PoK to Taliban in one day,” she wrote on her Twitter account.
An enraged government ordered an investigation against her for her alleged links to drugs. The Mumbai local body also issued an order to demolish her office for “illegal alterations”. Even as the BMC was busy carrying out the demolition, the Bombay High Court issued a stay on it, giving Ranaut another handle to attack the government and the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. “Uddhav Thackeray, tujhe kya lagta hai? (what do you think?) That you colluded along with the film mafia, demolished my home and took revenge on me? My home was demolished today, your arrogance will crumble tomorrow,” Kangana Ranaut said in a Twitter post.
Ranaut has made it amply clear that she is not going to face this battle lying down. But, the question is, will Shiv Sena flinch as it comes under pressure from allies in the ruling coalition?
Sharad Pawar of the NCP, which is part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi that is in power, has expressed his displeasure at the Sena stoking the controversy. Political compulsions may force the Sena to back down and put an end to this controversy.