Looking at the social media activity in the past week, one may think that the world is not suffering from a deadly pandemic at the moment. But alas, it still is, and India has crossed 5.2 million in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, as the ongoing pandemic continues to claim lives all over the world.
However, Indian media and social media have been distracted by actor Kangana Ranaut and her theatrics over the past few weeks. In fact, her comments have provoked sharp reactions from many inside and outside the film industry – and understandably so. One of the main newsmakers in the past seven days was actor and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan, who defended Bollywood against Kangana’s statements.
Jaya was viciously trolled online for the same, from many who seemed to have forgotten that the whole drama began when Kangana became the self-appointed champion of ‘Warriors for SSR,’ a bunch of netizens who wanted justice for the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput who is believed to have died by suicide on June 14.
Referring to the recent online attacks against Jaya Bachchan, filmmaker Alankrita Srivastava said:
There is nothing feminist about abusing generations of women who have cleared the way so we can enjoy the opportunities we do. Being abusive towards women like Indira Jaising and Jaya Bachchan is not okay. It is shameful. #JustSaying
— Alankrita Shrivastava (@alankrita601) September 16, 2020
Model and actor Dipannita Sharma also reiterated the need for women to have each other’s back rather than pulling each other down.
Misplaced sense of feminism is most worrying . It encourages patriarchy . Women who think their fight is correct but other women’s isn’t, women who have no qualms abusing or pulling down other women while wanting everyone’s support for themselves . Very worrying indeed .
— Dipannita Sharma (@Dipannitasharma) September 17, 2020
Actors Sayani Gupta and Swara Bhasker were among the many who stood for veteran actress Urmila Mantodkar who was called a ‘soft-porn actor’ by actor Kangana Ranaut:
@UrmilaMatondkar is one the smartest, sexiest, most prolific actors that this country has ever seen. She did a cute and sexy in Rangeela (danced like a dream) as effortlessly as an intense, thrilling Ek Haseena thi, Pyar Tune kya kiya & Bhoot. #classapart #childhoodfavourite 💛 https://t.co/cJjnUtCDfl
— Sayani Gupta (@sayanigupta) September 17, 2020
Supreme Court Lawyer Karuna Nundy called out Kangana’s statement for what it is:
Urmila herself gave a graceful response to her supporters:
Thank you the “Real People of India” and a rare breed of unbiased,dignified media for standing by me. It’s Your victory over fake IT trolls n propaganda.
Deeply touched..humbled 🙏🏼#JaiHind
— Urmila Matondkar (@UrmilaMatondkar) September 18, 2020
Another development that grabbed headlines was the arrest of activist Umar Khalid under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which many called unconstitutional. Firebrand journalists Arfa Khanum and Rana Ayyub were among those who raised their voices in protest against the arrest:
‘My birth is my fatal accident’.
Rohith Vemula’s profound words
Being a Muslim and asking for your constitutional rights is a crime in New India. #StandWithUmarKhalid
— Arfa Khanum Sherwani (@khanumarfa) September 14, 2020
The arrest of Umar Khalid, Safoora Zargar, Devangana Kalita, Sharjeel Usmani and hundreds of students in India is a message from Narendra Modi. The regime will not tolerate any criticism or dissent, it will silence any voice that gains popularity and displays leadership.
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) September 15, 2020
While veteran journalist Sagarika Ghose criticised the government’s move to control media….
Regulate digital not TV, says Modi govt. Of course ! Why bother to regulate TV media when it’s already in our pocket? Turn to digital instead, where there’s relative freedom. Outrageous demand by Centre pic.twitter.com/KNoHhwGEXw
— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) September 18, 2020
…Faye Dsouza, another veteran journalist, commented on how the over interference of media can lead to investigation by authorities going in vain:
Those arguing for a “Drug clean up” should know when every move of the NCB is plastered all over the media, the trail disappears & investigators will never be able to find the real source of the drugs. This investigation is being conducted for the media, not to clean up anything
— Faye DSouza (@fayedsouza) September 16, 2020
As criticism grows about the absence of data on COVID-19 in India, actors Richa Chadha and Taapsee Pannu shared a poignant post:
— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) September 15, 2020
However, let’s end this week on a positive note, taking a look at actor-filmmaker Nandita Das’s tweet which reminded the world of her outstanding creativity:
Wrote something in Hindustani. A stream of consciousness. Neither prose nor poetry. Felt like sharing, on an impulse. Spoken words that might resonate with you. Or maybe they won't! pic.twitter.com/tAHZ6mS5nt
— Nandita Das (@nanditadas) September 18, 2020