September was Kangana Ranaut’s month, man. Two weeks before the release of Simran, she gave that explosive interview to Aap ki Adalat where she talked about her relationship with Hrithik Roshan and his responses to her in the media. Reviews said that she was the only good thing about Simran, and she rounded the month off on a hilarious note when she teamed up with AIB for The Bollywood Diva Song (you know, ‘Coz I Have Vagina Re’), where she called out pretty much every single person who’s been sexist to her during the course of her career. Including Hrithik Roshan.
All that truth-telling clearly struck a nerve, because the opposition PR machine has swung into action. On 2nd October, “sources” confirmed to Republic TV that Hrithik had filed a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell against Kangana Ranaut for stalking him, through a series of emails that apparently show how doggedly Ranaut pursued him. Except that this is a pretty gross misrepresentation, given that this complaint was sent by Hrithik to the Cyber Crime Cell back in 2016, when it was discovered that someone had sent Ranaut emails pretending to be Hrithik. Back when he was pursuing this case in 2016, Hrithik had explicitly said he was going after the imposter, not Kangana. Now, media houses are relentlessly, and irresponsibly, ‘covering’ these leaked emails, misrepresenting details from the earlier case and doing their damnedest to make Kangana look crazy. Daddy Rakesh Roshan also spoke to the media on the morning of October 4th, saying that the truth would come out “soon”.
The timing of all this revived media attention now – into evidence that was actually part of a different 2016 case – is a bit hard to miss, given that just last month Ranaut spoke extensively about her relationship with Hrithik, including mentioning that he “ran away” from a meeting his father set up between them both to discuss things. As Kangana’s sister Rangoli has said in a series of angry tweets, and as Kangana’s lawyer also pointed out in a statement, there’s no real reason for the hubbub over this 2016 case and the emails to come up now. The only plausible explanation is that Hrithik or some sympathetic PR team has raked it up again to make Ranaut look like a dangerous, unhinged stalker in retaliation for her recent revelations.
The funny thing is, if this is a vindictive PR campaign, it’s doing a pretty lousy job. The plan seems to have been to make some of her old emails public in a different context to make Ranaut look like a stalker – but this plan fails spectacularly on its own evidence. I read some of these emails, and all they do is prove that Kangana and Hrithik were in a complicated-but-comfortable romantic relationship, a real one where they seemed to be past initial flirtations and had really gotten into the good stuff.
Because however hard the media tries (and some are trying very hard), this is a tough sell. Some outlets like Republic TV started their coverage by saying some of the emails were so sexually explicit that they can’t show them on television (which reminded me of the time TV9 cameras in Hyderabad followed young women out of a pub and put unnecessary black boxes on their fully covered chests to make it look like they were scantily dressed). They then showed us emails they could apparently show, and boy, were they…boring.
They read just like the emails between a comfortable couple who go through their share of frequent ups and downs. They read like emails from a long-suffering woman in a steady relationship with a fuckboy: she says things like “Its super boring to send these morning and night mails but i feel our relationship has been so damaged and past few months have been so traumatic that I don’t want to take any chance, though i think its not reasonable for me to be walking on egg shells like that”.
There are pages and pages of chatty, cheerful and personal details of the minutiae of her day – about how she cancelled her meetings that day, how ‘Rangs’ and Neha won’t be coming another day because it’s Ganesh Chaturthi and they don’t come on weekends anyway, about her workout, dubbing, editing and other work, how she felt when she woke up (like crying), how she’s feeling right now (bit better), routine squabbles with friends and family – basically all the frightfully boring stuff that crosses through your mind daily, and that only your boyfriend will sit and listen to.
There’s even one part where Kangana is faithfully telling Hrithik how Ranbir Kapoor once made a “slightly straight forward advance” towards her, and deleted her from his BBM contacts when she spurned him by telling him she was in love with someone else. She sounds exactly like so many women who make a point of telling their significant others every detail of their interactions with other men, just so that their men feel secure and they don’t have to deal with any random jealousy.
When talking about Ranbir Kapoor, she also requests Hrithik to stop checking her email inbox, as “it will bring confusion and trauma for you as you will never have access to the whole story and you will see things in bits and pieces, it will mislead you into assuming thing, but after we start to date please try and stop doing this, I am sure you will, as I am very transparent in my relationships. You won’t feel the need.”
Anyone who’s been in a relationship can see that these aren’t the emails sent by a crazed obsessive, they’re one half of a complicated conversation between two lovers. Some emails end with little references to juicy lips and quick kisses and the other loving things couples say to each other. None of this screams ‘stalker’.
The problem is, we have no clue if and how Hrithik responded to any of the 400+ emails he received from her. The evidence submitted by Hrithik’s team in the 2016 case seems to just contain copies of her emails to him. There is no mention of his own responses to any of the hundreds of emails from Kangana to him, or of other communications through all other mediums between the two stars, besides any devices voluntarily submitted by Hrithik for investigation.
Ludicrously, several news channels also tried to take one excerpt – where Kangana says “i feel our relationship has been so damaged and past few months have been so traumatic that I don’t want to take any chance […] but when we start to date i know things are going to change” – as proof that they had never been together as a couple. To me, it just sounds like a woman being led on by a married douche, just kept hanging with promises of a legitimate future (“Oh baby, we’re still finalizing the divorce, just two more months before we begin our Real Lives together…”).
Considering how badly they wanted to go after her, you feel bad for the media and whichever PR team is behind all this, because if this is all they’ve got, they’re in a pretty pickle: no adult in the real world could read these emails and not realise how deep these two were in it. The emails actually cast aside any doubts you may have had that Kangana-Hrithik might have been just a hot one night stand: no, this was clearly a Relationship, long, loving, boring, comfy and predictable.
Co-published with Firstpost.