Given my fragile health, for the last few weeks, I have been binging on previous seasons of “Koffee with Karan”” … Please dont judge me for filling my precious (spare) time with Bollywood entertainers’ blatant lies, denial and theatrics … I didnt want to do anything which requires me to think beyond the amazing outfits and luminous sets of the show.
On one of the shows in season 2, Karan had invited Rakhi Sawant as one of the guests and applauded her for being unapologetic about herself and her background. Labelled as an “Item Girl” who has lived off pelvic thrusts, controversies and her sob-story of coming from a broken home and an unprivileged background, Rakhi Sawant was clearly seen hogging the limelight with her statements which begged for sympathy. She kept harping upon how she couldnt be a mainstream actress because of her inability to converse in English or her right connections. Her constant assertions about how A-listers have made it because of their education or the support they received from their parents, made her seem like someone who has been collectively wronged by “Bollywood” … While I watched the show with much interest and Karan’s attempt of keep pacing with Sawant’s cheesy one-liners and literally below the belt jokes, I could not help but compare her with Kangana Ranaut in my head.
Ranaut comes from a town which is as nondescript as Sawant’s, if not more. When she came she was constantly ridiculed for her accent and her command over English. She did whatever was offered to her and she did it with style. A keen learner, she took every insult thrown at her, in her stride and improved with time. She is one actress who played the “small town girl” card with such panache that people couldnt help but look at her humble, unglamourous upbringing with respect. She didnt win sympathy; she won hearts. “Small Town” became a “big plus” in her favour and not once do you see her weep on national television about the insolence and rejection she had to face on her turf. Kangana made “Rebel” the new “Cool”.
Unapologetically and unashamedly Hindu, Kangana spoke openly about her relationships when clandestine coital connections are the order of the day. She projected being the woman who was wronged with such aggression that the men who wronged her had to defend themselves. She never tried gaining mileage out of her relationships which one cant say about Sawant who till 2007 talked about the alleged use of force by Mika. While, I agree with Rakhi’s sentiments as a woman but to talk about an episode 3 years later and cry over it on popular talk-show clearly surfaced her intention of milking the issue.
When you are labelled “small” you do “big” … Be a star and let the world talk about your journey … Let the journos make money of your journey! You make money out of your hardwork and talent.
Both Kangana and Rakhi hail from cities which did not provide sufficient opportunities for women to grow; where inequality is looked at as a way of life; where to dream is blasphemous and to fight for your dreams entails societal boycott. However, when you do stand up for yourself, it is important to stand up for the right things, it is important to pick your battles and enemies smartly and to send the right message across. While one grew from strength to strength to emerge as a poster girl for feminists (some call her a feminazi … I personally dont agree with that) the other tried every trick in the book to get every possible eyeball in her direction. Both had similar stories but it is the difference in their narratives which makes them who they truly are … It is not about being small town … Its about what can being small town do for you.
The purpose of my post is not to paint Kangana all white and Rakhi all black (they both are quite accomplished for an insignificant ideal idiot like me to judge them) … But it is about turning your weakness into your strength … Its about positioning yourself in a manner which add appeals to you and not takes away from you … Its about being an inspiration and not a discouragement … Its about being proud of where you come from and making it your ground zero and not about glorifying your lesser childhood and making it your source of income!!
Ultimately it is all about what you do with it … When life gives you a small town, make it Kangana’s and not Rakhi’s …
From the city of sugarcubes … Sugarsatchet!!
PS: The views expressed are strictly personal and this blog is my personal space where I am entitled to have my opinions!!
Picture credit: http://www.stirredandstrung.com/shop/home-and-garden/koozies/just-a-small-town-girl-can-cooler/