Personally, I find this story fascinating. You don’t have to, either because you are just tired of it, or because you like to watch movies but aren’t interested in how they are made, or just because you don’t think it is that important or worth discussion. But I find it fascinating, and so I am going to indulge myself with another post, and putting up a bunch of videos for you all to watch, and hoping that there will be someone else here I can talk to about it all.
But this is a different story. Since the Hrithik controversy at least, Kangana has been a wild card. She is the thing that spreads reverberations through out the system in a way it cannot handle, does not know how to respond to. When you look at Hrithik, for instance, the system (and that means the media, the fans, the paid social media teams, and so on) could not quite process what she was doing. It wasn’t the usual whispered rumors, and it wasn’t stopped even by legal action, it just spun out of anyone’s control, total chaos. And it was also such blatant transparent lies that it was hard to know even where to start in responding to them.
All of these things sound like I am complimenting Kangana. I’m not. I’m not necessarily insulting her either. Don’t think of her as a person. As a concept, something that obeys no laws or social contracts, is BAD thing. You can try to hit at a system, but the goal should be to change it, or build a new better system. It shouldn’t be simply to hit.
What should be clear to everyone at this point who has been paying attention is that Kangana is, essentially, a liar. To a degree that people cannot process it, that other people keep trying to find a logic to it, some reason behind it that makes sense. Why would Kangana say Hrithik proposed to her in Paris in December if it is a lie and shockingly easy to prove it is a lie? Why would she say that Sonu Sood won’t work with a female director when he is one of the few actors who HAS worked with a female director? Why would she say she always supported a victim who spoke out when she is on record as not supporting her? There is no reason for it, it is just chaos, delusion, saying what first occurs to her to say and then saying something else if something else occurs to her.
And so what I am fascinated by in these interviews is the story they are telling of a logical system being unable to control an illogical entity. And individuals who trusted that system to protect them, learning they are dealing with someone who has no reason to her.
Let’s look at Mishti first. She was launched by Subhash Ghai with much fanfare and then her film flopped. She moved down south, has worked in Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam (Adam Joan). She hasn’t had a big role since her launch, but she is working steadily. And then she is offered a new movie, she speaks to the director and the producer and the lead star, and learns everything she can about her role before signing on. And then works hard for many many days, including learning swordfighting. Finishes her, job, dubs, moves on to a new part. And then gets a call telling her she has to come back for another schedule, they really really need her. She makes special arrangements with her new director to allow it, goes back to Bombay, finishes the final few days, is confused as to what is happening, isn’t able to reach the director she thought was directing her, but is told over and over again that her role is important and they appreciate her, so she keeps going. And then 5 days before the release, she discovers she was completely betrayed.
Couple of things that jumped out at me from her interview. Faridoon asks her something about if she learned lessons, will be more careful in future when signing films. And her response is essentially “I WAS careful!” She talked to the director, she looked at the script, she talked to the producer, she asked questions, she talked to Kangana even as her co-star. All of the rules of society say she was safe. And, she wasn’t. There was someone in there who just didn’t care, who broke all the rules, all the understandings that make the world function.
Another thing that jumps out is, again, the north south divide. She says several times that she didn’t even want this movie, she is doing well in the south, she is happy in the south. And she also says that Krish is enormously respected in the south, she took the film to work with him. And got thrown into this world where no one seemed to care or respect their work in other places. But, that’s more how the system is “supposed” to work, the southern artists are not appreciated as much in the north. What isn’t supposed to happen is that they will take the job in a big movie with someone else as the star, and then even after agreeing to a small role and everything else, they are still betrayed.
Oh, and I also highly recommend this interview because Mishti is super pleasant to watch and listen too. Lovely gestures, lovely voice, very calm, very pretty. And her spontaneous laughter at the idea of Kangana directing 70% of the film is infectious.
And then there is Krish’s full interview, which I finally watched (snow day! Gained me 2 hours through losing the commute and not having to get really dressed). He is also very calm and very reasoned. Less lovely, but then he’s a director not an actor.
Most of it was stuff I already talked about from the published excerpts. But there were also a few things that the excerpts didn’t cover. One thing that you can’t really capture just in excerpts is the overall sense of just how very much work Krish put in to this film. He talks about location scouting, history texts, short stories, everything. What he does say at one point is that it is ridiculous to think of a director’s job related to how much of a film they shot. Shooting the actors is just a small part of the job. The supervising the sets, the CGI, the script, the planning, the concepts, that is the directing. At the very most, all Kangana did was come in and shoot things in the set he built with the cast and crew he assembled.
He also took responsibility for betraying that crew he assembled. Especially Atul Agnihotri, as he says, they waited for Atulji, begged him to be in the film, scheduled shooting around him. And then his whole role was just cut. And he mentions Mishti as well, like she said, she had promises in hand from the director and a great role was offered her.
The thing I find most interesting, is his frustration at how history itself was changed around Kangana’s ego. He describes the moments and concepts that were cut, and they sound beautiful. The conflict in Tatya Tope/Atul when he has to retreat without saving Kangana and Jhansi in order to save his men. A scene when Kangana hands her child off to Mishti in order to save it. Tatya battling on one side while Kangana fights on the other to trap the British between them. I can see in his description the grand vision he had for the film. And also, as he says, that this is HISTORY, you can’t just change the facts of what happened because you want Sonu Sood to die before the interval. In a strange way, what he is saying about the changes Kangana wanted to make to the film echo her overall behavior, simply rewriting history (whether it is a romance with Hrithik or Tatya Tope’s relationship with Manikarnika) to match whatever version of herself she wants at the moment.
And again, it is this story of Kangana being simply without any….I don’t even know what to call it. Any kind of concept of how people behave? She was fine during shooting. And then in the same conversation she would jump from one statement to the next, just spew illogic out at him and there was no way to combat it. For instance, in the room with him and Kamal Jain, saying she had to take the director’s credit because “people” were telling her she should. WHAT PEOPLE?? They were all right there, in the room with her, the producer and the director, who else could be talking to her? And then just seconds later changing to a different tactic in the same conversation, saying “I am TAKING credit and you can’t stop me”, no more “people”. There’s another kind of funny moment when Faridoon reads a quote from Kangana describing how Krish saw the film versus how she say it, and Krish says “yes yes, that is what I told her” and then Faridoon has to clarify, no, Kangana is saying that is HER vision for the film, and Krish’s was something else. She took the exact words Krish used, telling her that it wouldn’t be a story of one land but of a whole country, and claimed them as her own. It’s just so unreal that it is hard to process this kind of behavior.
Oh, and there is also, again, a north-south divide even in this story. Kangana claimed that Krish just wanted to turn it into an action revenge movie. Which sounds, to me, like a stereotype of what southern directors make. But is not what Krish makes or is about. If I am reading this statement correctly (which you can disagree with), then Kangana is insulting him and using stereotypes of southern films and southern directors to encourage the northern audience she is giving this interview to to disregard him.
What these stories have in common, Hrithik to Mishti, is the shock of discovering this totally different person on the inside. Pleasant reasonable sensible woman who you thought you knew, and then suddenly having all of this drop down on you, go through the whole shoot of Manikarnika with no problems, and then the last months before release everything change all of a sudden. She is lovely, kind, reasonable, pleasant. And then suddenly, not at all. But of course no one believes it when you warn them. Krish also says that happened, he knew she had had “problems”, but she was so good to work with, he ignored that.
To go back to my argument at the beginning, because Kangana’s story is of a system trying to process something that does not fit at all, the reaction to it is also something we haven’t seen before. Actors have had their scenes cut from films, stars have taken control away from directors, but never in this way, in this chaotic way filled with lies and last minute reversals and just uncontrolled chaos that damages everyone it touches and helps no one. And so instead of the usual response (leaks from set that turn into small stories in industry news, a reputation within the industry that is gently hinted at in interviews but never said straight out, and the star reacts by being more circumspect and maybe producing his/her own movies in future to have an excuse for interference), it is this very different response of lengthy public explicit interviews. I mean, if Kangana is saying things like “Krish wanted to make it an action revenge movie” and “Sonu won’t work for a woman”, the only response is total detailed honesty.