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Kangana Ranaut calls out Karan Johar, Shabana Azmi for silence on #MeToo movement

While her observations are not wrong, it is interesting to note that the actress has had squirmishes with both Johar and Azmi in the recent past.

Mayur Lookhar

The #MeToo movement is gaining momentum in India even in its third week now. Actress Kangana Ranaut has spoken out in support of the victims and called out her Queen (2014) director Vikas Bahl for his sexual misconduct. Bahl was recently ousted as director of Super 30, that stars Hrithik Roshan, Ranaut’s arch-rival.

With Ranaut's Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi clashing with Hrithik’s Super 30 at the box office on 25 January, some believe Ranaut is using the #MeToo campaign for personal gains. However, the actress has never shied from expressing her views. After slamming Bahl and Hrithik, Ranaut has now questioned the silence of filmmaker Karan Johar and actress-activist Shabana Azmi on the #MeToo movement. 

On her return from Udaipur last evening (14 October), Ranaut was asked what she thought of the #MeToo movement by India Today, a television channel. 

The Manikarnika actress replied, "I have been speaking about it every day. But, now, more significantly, more people need to come out and talk about it. It's just not one person to talk about it. Where are people like Karan Johar, Shabana Azmi they should also come out and talk. He [Johar] has a view about gym looks, and airport looks. He tweets ten times about this. What about this? The film industry is going through an important shift where are they?” 

While her observations are not wrong, it is interesting to note that the actress has had squirmishes with both Johar and Azmi in the recent past.

Ranaut and Johar have not really been on friendly terms since the actress cheekily called the producer-director the 'flagbearer of nepotism' in the Hindi film industry on his chat show Koffee With Karan in 2017. The duo thereafter traded verbals volleys. However, when Ranaut appeared as a guest judge on India Ka Superstar, a talent-search reality show co-judged by Johar and director Rohit Shetty, it looked like the waters had calmed. 

As for Azmi, Ranaut had refused the sign a petition initiated by the veteran actress in support of actress Deepika Padukone who was threatened by the right-wing group Karni Sena during the release of her film Padmaavat.  Ranaut, though supported Padukone, refused to sign the petition as she didn't want to be part of any politics. The Queen (2014) actress had also expressed her surprise that Azmi spoke out for Padukone, but had backed Hrithik Roshan in her own fight against him. 

Hinting that the bigwigs of the industry are still busy with trivial matters, Ranaut took a dig at the promos of the latest season of Johar's talk show Koffee With Karan. “I have spoken about it at length but it is important that these people also join this [#MeToo movement]," she said, adding, “I was seeing the promo that they have launched of his talk show, wherein again those frivolous talks have been going on. This one is sleeping with this one, that one is sleeping with this one. You know, making girls look like Barbie dolls. This is not done and why men who change women like clothes are glorified. Has there been a woman who has been glorified like that?”

Coming back to the #MeToo campaign, Ranaut urged her contemporaries — the 'A-list' actresses of today — to come forward and share their stories. 

“Honestly, it's funny, since I have started, I was 17, it's just been about gossiping about some select people sleeping with each other. It can't be just that, we need to grow up and it's high time that we do. When the Industry is going through such a shift why are these A-list actresses not sharing their stories? I am the only one, you guys come to every day. I don't know who calls you but, honestly, I have spoken a lot. It's not for one person to talk”, she said.

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Sexual harassment