All hell broke loose when SpotboyE broke the news of former couple Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut slapping legal notices on each other (Exes Hrithik-Kangana slap legal notices on each other, Threats galore! ).
Allegations, counter allegations, denials… Bollywood and movie buffs watched on in shock as the story unfolded before their eyes.
In an industry where ‘image’ is everything, how will this battle of the exes affect brand Hrithik and brand Kangana? Who stands to lose more? SpotboyE searched for some answers:
While most B-Townies were not forthcoming, filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt who launched Kangana in Bollywood (Gangster, 2006), chose not to mince words. “I think it’s silly and stupid of Kangana and Hrithik to wash their dirty linen in public. It doesn’t make sense to take what’s personal out of the closet. Mudslinging has never fuelled anyone’s career. It may not damage their professional reputation, but their general imagery will take a beating for sure,” he says.
Image Source: Wikiwand & torfilm
Many people, including top columnists like Shobha De, have openly appreciated the actress for standing up against a top hero in a male-dominated industry. But will this boost her market value?
On the other hand, Hrithik’s ‘good boy’ image has come under the radar. The actor, after ending his marriage with Sussanne Khan, has been a picture of contradictions. On one hand, he has been a doting daddy to his sons, but on the other, his alleged proximity to many B-Town actresses has become fodder for the press -- Esha Gupta, Bipasha Basu, Pooja Hegde, Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez… the list is rather long.
Image Source: twitter/iHrithik
“Kangana was the shocker. No one knew that they were really going around. By projection, they’re like chalk and cheese,” exclaims ad guru Prahlad Kakkar, adding, “But now that s**t has hit the roof, let it be where it is. Don’t fan it; let them sort it out in private. There’s no point in keeping the matter alive in the press.”
Image Source: Alchetron
A head honcho from an A-list talent management company, on the condition of anonymity, agrees. “It’s a bit early to say who will be more affected by the outcome of this war, because there’s a ceasefire right now. But I think Hrithik’s image will be far more affected. He should have thought twice before sending a notice. Kangana will continue to look as bold as always. Sure, he may have felt awkward working with an ex. Most exes who work together give each other some cooling time. Look at Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, they’re classic examples.”
While Bollywood has witnessed many ugly break-ups -- Ranbir-Deepika and Salman Khan-Aishwarya Rai are classic examples -- this is the first time it’s taken the ‘legal route’.
Image Source: Manav Manglani
“It’s ugly to slap an ex with a legal notice. Hrithik probably thought it will stay private, but Kangana is known not to remain silent,” points out Bharati Pradhan, journalist-turned-writer and a known Bollywood chronicler.
Unlike De, Bharati feels that the industry is pro-Hrithik. “It’s similar to how Vivek Oberoi was perceived when he took on Salman publicly. Everyone stood by Salman, no one asked who was right or wrong. Hrithik has the industry on his side because he’s an insider, and is a more powerful star. Unwritten rule in the industry is, you side with the more saleable name and you resolve matters in private. Kangana has had too many troubled relationships. She’s been too open. She has always gone against the wind and has plenty of people standing against her,” she observes.
Image Source: Manav Manglani
Tanmay Bhat, renowned stand-up comedian from AIB, points out that a sexist society likes ours will find it difficult to accept a woman who speaks her mind.
Image Source: Nh7 & Alchetron
Aditi Mittal, also from AIB, recalls how she stood up against a fellow stand-up comedian who made sexual remarks about her. She shamed him with a worse comment. He quit stand-up comedy and started producing comedy shows. “When a man shouts back, he’s a ‘Mard’. But a woman who shouts back is considered everything but brave. We’re not used to a woman being vocal, especially when she’s been wronged. We judge her too easily and tear her out of the system. It’s a crying shame that though Kangana, an outsider in this industry, has made it big despite everything working against her, she will pay the price for this relationship. Not many attempts will be made to diffuse the situation. It will be used by just about everyone who wants to get back at her,” she rues.
From the looks of it, both Hrithik and Kangana have taken a backseat for now. Duggu’s associates, even the ones not working with him anymore, have been asked not to speak to the press about the matter.
Kangana, on the other hand, has had a quiet birthday celebration and was almost in tears a few days ago, when asked about the matter (Kangana gets teary-eyed over Hrithik at press meet, Mar 22).
Forget the brand value, how will such incidents affect a star’s mental well-being? Popular psychiatrist Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla explains: “Kangana is emotional, while Hrithik appears less affected. Such episodes take away an actor’s attention from work. They take a toll on everyone, including the families. Hrithik’s relationships have not been stable for a while now. Kangana’s have never been stable, but she doesn’t seem to fuel her career by forcibly attaching her name with a successful man. And now that they’re throwing muck at each other publicly, people will tend to dislike them.”
Fans also feel strongly about the matter. Namrata Kaur, a 37-year-old insurance professional, says: “If Kangana has been wronged, she must be heard and given a fair chance at work. Just because she and Hrithik were romancing at some point, no one should stop giving her work. She’s a far better actor than he can ever be."
Image Source: jootix
Deepti Mishra, a 32-year-old housewife, is very matter-of-fact when she says: “They are here to act in films and entertain us. If they can’t do that, they must bow out. Hrithik khaali uske ghar ki film mein accha kaam karta hai. Kangana sab ki picture mein accha kaam karti hai. Usko baksh do yaar.”
So, what next? Is this silence the calm before the storm? Dipesh Mehta, who represents Hrithik, says, “Truth will prevail. Once we nab the imposter who was sending those mails to Kangana, we’ll have more clarity in the matter.”
Rizwan Siddiqui, who represents Kangana, sounds more aggressive: “Hrithik has been proven wrong on so many grounds. He was lying that he didn’t know Kangana. He was playing the diplomatic card all these years instead of owning up his real image. He’ll be the one affected. Kangana has been and will always be the bold woman she is. Wait and watch!”
Thumbnail Image Source: Manav Manglani