Not People LIke US

The Claws Are Still Out

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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Slaying the Troll | What Happens in the Waiting Room

Kangana Ranaut may be down, but she’s far from out. The actress, who’s kept a low profile since the abysmal failure of Simran, has been reportedly focusing her energies on her next, Manikarnika, the Rani of Jhansi film that she’s currently completing.

Recently, news leaked that Kangana had refused to sign a petition that many of Bollywood’s leading ladies had put their names to, condemning the threats that Deepika Padukone had received in the wake of the Padmavati controversy. The initiative was led by Shabana Azmi, and several actresses including Jaya Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma, and Vidya Balan have reportedly signed it.

Rubbishing the narrative that she had refused to sign the petition because she doesn’t get along with Deepika, Kangana made a public statement clarifying her decision. Kangana said that Deepika had her full support, but singled out Shabana as the reason she didn’t sign the petition. Kangana is believed to have said she was wary of “Shabana’s investment in left wing versus right wing politics”and also revealed that it was ironic the senior actress was spearheading a feminist campaign to support Deepika, when she “character assassinated” Kangana during her very public legal battle with Hrithik Roshan.

Kangana has never hidden the fact that Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar asked her to their home and dissuaded her from “going after Hrithik” when she first alleged that he was lying about having had no relationship with her. Kangana had also said she expected more from the senior couple, but felt they were clearly in Hrithik’s corner.

Slaying the Troll

Bhumi Pednekar, who followed up her terrific debut in Dum Laga Ke Haisha, with inspired turns in two new hits this year (Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan), says it never really got to her when trolls addressed her as ‘moti’on social media, because she was confident of shedding all the fat she had put on for her first film. But it did make her aware of just how toxic Twitter can be. The actress says trolls now frequently call her ‘behenji’ in response to the small-town women she has played in all of her releases so far.

She told me it was surprising then to hear her name announced as a winner at a fashion and style awards that she attended last week purely for fun. “I like to dress up, and I wish trolls could tell the difference between dressing in character, and dressing up for oneself,” she said, citing the poetic justice of being honoured for being a fashion trendsetter.

What Happens in the Waiting Room

A notoriously brash female star, who many insist has mellowed with age, is a regular sight at the Versova ‘clinic’ of Bollywood’s favourite ‘natural healer’. The gentleman reportedly specialises in massage therapy, and is an expert at—ahem—administering enemas to those seeking a flushing out of their systems. His client roster is a virtual who’s- who of Bollywood’s top female artistes, and one among them is this loud leading lady.

Recently, a prominent technician who had an appointment with the ‘doctor’ landed up earlier than she intended to, and was ushered into a sitting room next door. Turns out the expert was attending to the aforementioned actress at the time, and when it was conveyed to him that the technician had shown up early, he hollered across the thin wall separating both rooms that he would be with her shortly.

On learning that the technician was next in queue, the actress, who has known her for many years, insisted that she join them in the ‘doctor’s room’. The technician thought it was odd, but went anyway, only to be greeted by the sight of the actress “with a pipe sticking out of her backside”. As she described it to friends later, “It was an image I could’ve lived without seeing.”

The actress, as it turns out, was not in the least bit awkward, and perfectly comfortable with her body.

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