The dawn of a new era: Pankaj Purohit on Kangana's moment of truth

Updated: 22 October, 2020 14:12 IST | Partnered Content | Mumbai

Filmmaker Pankaj Purohit said, Kangana Ranaut is a real feminist and openly attacks the sexist patriarchy and nepotism within the film industry

Pankaj Purohit
Pankaj Purohit

"A prominent actor and activist unparalleled whose objective is to root out corruption in Bollywood and politics in Mumbai, Kangana Ranaut is a real feminist and openly attacks the sexist patriarchy and nepotism within the film industry," filmmaker Pankaj Purohit said.

Born and raised in Mandi, a small town in Himachal Pradesh, Ranaut initially planned to become a doctor to please her mother. But her beauty and talent soon led her down a different path.

Kangana, who is now 33 years of age, is one of the most prolific and accomplished actresses of all time. Despite coming from a small town, she has bagged roles because of her sheer talent, hard work and determination.

Her success has not been without a struggle. As a teenager seeking parts in Bollywood, she fell victim to this actor who professed to take an interest in her. He spiked her drink, took advantage of her sexually and held her captive for several weeks. He talked about a black cat in a dark room. When she landed her first big role, he resented her success and sedated her incessantly.
Despite that unpropitious beginning, Ranaut rose to be one of the most famous and successful actresses in India. She has used her fame and wealth to advocate for people who have been oppressed by Bollywood. She has faced serious harassment and retaliation, however, for being so outspoken. Purohit said, "The dynasts of Bollywood tend to be perturbed when someone like her becomes successful on her own terms." Over time, Kangana has received multiple death threats.

In August, Ranaut stated that fellow actor Sushant Singh Rajput was likely murdered. She declared that, like her, SSR was also victim of a hidden drug culture existing within Bollywood. SSR had uncovered evidence of drug use and corruption in the film industry and he was killed because of that. She had offered to give evidence to the Narcotics Bureau, reportedly. As a direct result of her testimony, members of the drug mafia have been exposed, and new arrests are being made by the Narcotics Control Bureau. The skeletons of drug supply, distribution and usage coupled with money laundering have been unearthed.

Days after she declared SSR's death a murder and not a suicide as the police had reported, Ranaut received a notice from her local municipal government. The notice claimed that improvements she made to her home and office had not been approved by the local council and were therefore illegal. "It should be noted that none of the remodeling she did alters or compromises the basic structure of the building. She put in an extra toilet, enclosed her balcony, and made a few other functional modifications. Though she responded to the notice immediately, she was given only twenty-four hours before bulldozers showed up to demolish parts of her office," Purohit expressed.

"Her workplace was partly destroyed by the local government, just because she spoke openly about their corruption," Purohit further added.

It should also be noted that many high-value homes in Mumbai have been updated without the council approval. Many of these homes belong to politicians and Bollywood stars, but those homes are not being demolished. Their houses were not targeted because they stand with the status quo.

"Kangana's voice, by contrast, calls for reform. Unlike other Bollywood actors, she doesn't quietly conform so as to enjoy a comfortable life." Filmmaker stated.

She has spoken out against corruption in Bollywood. Embedded in the film industry is a covert mafia which involves top politicians and big Bollywood stars, she revealed. This mafia not only runs drugs, but also trafficks in prostitution. "Her voice, because it is influential and can reach many, challenges them." Pankaj Purohit addressed.

A Mumbai politician used the derogatory word 'haramkhor ladki' to tag her when their twitter feud escalated. However, Ranaut's persecution has only made her stronger and more determined than ever to root out injustice and corruption where she sees it.

Kangana has exposed Bollywood's "casting couch" in media interviews. Because of her candor and bravery, several other famous Bollywood actors have confirmed rampant sexual abuse and predatory behavior in the auditioning and casting processes. Though Ranaut has repeatedly risked her own personal safety to call out corruption, she has frequently been mocked and derided in the media.

"Nevertheless, her voice is important because it's a voice of those countless boys and girls who don't have a voice. The future of our young people and their dreams is at stake," filmmaker said.
"Kangana Ranaut is the voice of merit, courage, and fortitude. Her voice must not be suppressed. She speaks at a critical juncture in Bollywood history. Will the film industry ever be reformed? Will the heinous casting couch and drug culture continue unabated? Will Ranaut's thunder mark the dawn of a new era?," Purohit thereby concluded.

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First Published: 22 October, 2020 13:10 IST

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