By Sharanya Gopinathan
The Kangana-Hrithik saga seems to be nearing its climax, now that it’s been over a year of slapping legal notices, contradictory interviews to the media, warring lawyers, leaked emails and possibly morphed photographs.
Over the last couple of days, after renewed media attention in some “leaked” emails between the two, both Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan released official statements regarding the other’s allegations. Both actors’ statements sound like the brainchildren of cautious legal defence teams, as they both refer to very specific time frames, imposters and hackers, and build their arguments of innocence on very specific conversations and examples (“my emails have been hacked since May 2014”, “I never contacted her after 2014”).
Reading both statements, you get the distinct feeling that both parties are telling half-truths based on the selective facts that support their preferred story, that they’re both hiding many things, and that there’s a lot more to the story here than we’ll probably ever know.
There is one person who doesn’t seem to be hiding anything in general though, and that’s Kangana’s sharp-tongued sister, Rangoli Chandel. Rangoli Chandel is Kangana Ranaut’s sister-cum-manager, and she’s frequently proven, through explosive tweets and candid statements to the media, that she will take absolutely no shit from anyone: she’s been Kangana’s fiercest defender for years now, and is quick to put anyone who crosses Kangana, from Hrithik Roshan to Apurva Asrani, firmly in their place. She also becomes a bit more prominent because Kangana Ranaut herself isn’t on social media: her social media presence seems to be managed by her team, not her, so Rangoli’s tweets and statements almost feel like the closest we can get to Ranaut herself.
Most recently on the 4th of October, after Rangoli and Kangana’s lawyer felt that Hrithik was currently directing the media to the emails contained in the evidence of an old, separate 2016 case in order to misrepresent details and make Kangana look like a stalker, Rangoli took to Twitter in a spectacular rant, basically telling Roshan (she tagged him in each tweet) that it was lame and boring to try and revive the idea that Kangana “stalked” him based on a 2016 case, a year after he said his intention in filing the 2016 case was to find the stalker, not attack Kangana. Better yet, she actually called Roshan himself a “stalker uncle“.
She also countered Roshan’s continued claim that he submitted his electronic devices (which he names, his phones and his laptops) for investigation by pointing out that phones and laptops are different from an iPad, which she says he sent some emails from. It’s a fair point, and one that bothered me too when reading all the back-and-forth here: back in 2016, when he filed the case to find the imposter, Roshan was only required to submit into evidence the devices he wanted to submit, nothing more.
Anyway, unravelling all the rival claims made by each party here would take eons and we’d probably get no where with it. But most media houses seem to have already placed themselves firmly in Hrithik’s camp without even wanting to give Ranaut a chance, and I think it’s unfair to write off Rangoli and Kangana, who don’t have the power or backing that the Roshan family does but clearly still have a lot of fight in them, just yet.
When looking at Chandel’s Twitter feed, the raw emotion and roving exclamation points, you get the feeling that many people would find it easy to dismiss her as a ranting nut, but that’s just what gas lighting is supposed to do: make women look crazy when they react angrily to the injustice and helplessness of being a woman fighting powerful men in an unfair, misogynistic world. Sure, Chandel says exactly what’s on her mind, isn’t afraid of making enemies, and does seem to tweet before she fully recognises the possible consequences of doing so, but none of that makes her crazy or should make you discount her statements off-hand.
This is a problem women face outside the film industry too, of course: they’re discounted as wild and hysterical when they speak out against the unfair things that happen around them, and are considered shrill and unreasonable if they raise their voices, particularly if their opponents simply adopt more measured tones in comparison.
In any case, it’s just clear that there’s a lot more going on in this case than meets the eye, but I personally trust Rangoli Chandel’s Twitter feed more than, say, “news” channels like Republic TV, who were clearly desperate to vilify Kangana from the get-go.
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