Kangana Ranaut, actress at India Today Mind Rocks Event 2016 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.
Equality is a basic right. Fighting for it is beneath our dignity: Kangana Ranaut
Over the past few months, we’ve seen Kangana Ranaut in many avatars but not quite like this. The Queen of Bollywood was a hit among students from the time she entered. With her outspoken persona, intelligent and strong comments and the promise of a striptease if the audience was attentive enough, she wooed everyone present.
From bullying to feminism to gender equality, Kangana spoke about the biggest issues plaguing the nation today.
“It isn’t always about what you want from life, but also about what life throws at you,” she said in response to a question about choosing to do Queen. “I was jobless, money-less, shelterless, food-less and at that time I was getting a role, why wouldn’t I do it?”
While most are privy of Kangana’s struggle in Bollywood and in life, it is when you learn about the lessons she has taken from those struggles that you really are able to appreciate where she stands today.
“We (Bollywood stars) do face bullying, but that is everywhere. You face that in every profession and there’s nothing unusual about it. In fighting it back, you grow stamina,” she told the eager audience, which responded with equal vigour.
Talking more about bullying, Kangana said that she considers herself an underdog facing giants. “You have to understand that you can’t fight bullies in their language because they’ve mastered it. They would incite you to fight back the way they want, but if you don’t fall for it, you win,” she said, giving the analogy of someone physically weak vein abused by a strong person. If he retaliates physically, he will lose – what is needed is getting under the bully’s skin by attacking his mind.
When asked about her accent, she responded with a strong message saying that language is a very primitive way of looking at people. “Language is going to be decided by your background. Culture, language, sexual or religion don’t define who you are. Your character decides who you are,” the Bollywood diva said and then with a flair that only she has, she said, “Yahan inko mera accent fake lagta hai. Ye bahar jaate hai to unko inka accent fake lagta hai.”
Having filed an FIR against abuse at the age of 17 and then dealing with constant media pressure till date, Kangana quoted examples from her own life to help people understand how to tackle bullies.
Her experience with facing bullies and the media, however, made Kangana question feminism and what it means and then through a series of personal analogies she went on to tell the audience what feminism meant to her, also roping in the message given in the recently released Pink. “Feminism isn’t just about fighting for equal rights for women. Having to prove women are human and equal to men is beneath anyone’s dignity. Of course they’re equal, of course they’re human. As feminists we need to protect women’s dignity and pride and salute men who choose to see women as equals,” she said.
According to Kangana, in a male dominated society like ours it is important to empower feminist men because they are going to lead feminism. She also considers gender equality to be separate from feminism. “While feminism is a more oestrogen dominated emotion, it is about everything that deals with humanity. Gender equality on the other hand doesn’t just include women but every gender. Feminism goes beyond gender. It promotes love, art, music and empathy,” the actress said.
She ended by emphasising the fact that equality is a birth right and it is in fact beneath anyone’s dignity to fight for a basic right like this.
With that, as promised, she did a little strip tease as she took of her jacket and danced to London Thumakda.