Kangana Ranaut sat down with Sadhguru Jaggi on Tuesday for a public conversation. She had expressed her admiration for the guru in the past, and this chat was ostensibly about mysticism and spirituality. But Kangana being Kangana, a lot of interesting subjects popped up.
The Manikarnika actor received some flak recently when she was very straightforward in supporting PM Narendra Modi for the 2019 elections. She had high praise for the PM at a screening of the film Chalo Jeete Hain, which is inspired by his early life. Online commentators were quick to point out that for someone who is quite outspoken about progressive issues in Bollywood, supporting Modi and his right-wing government is problematic.
"He is the most deserving candidate. It’s not like he has reached this place because of his mother and father. He is the rightful leader of a a democracy. We have voted him as our Prime Minister. This cannot be taken away from him. This is his well-deserved place, he has earned after sheer hard work. So, there shouldn’t be any doubt about his credibility as the Prime Minister," - Kangana Ranaut
The first thing that jumped out about the conversation between Sadhguru and Jaggi was how random the whole setup was. While Kangana implied that she and the guru know each other well, the conversation felt forced. Sadhguru was happy to preach his own gospel, Kangana seemed more interested in putting forth a bunch of political talking points. At many points Sadhguru seemed dismissive of Kangana, and to see her not respond was out of character.
To start off, Kangana had a lengthy diatribe about the “lynching debate” as she put it, when she accused ‘liberals’ of being prejudiced against cows. She claimed that the makers of Manikarnika changed a scene where she saves a calf to one where she saves a lamb, because “we don’t want to look like cow saviours”. It is surreal to see her frame the killing of a human being over false accusations as an affront to their beliefs. Surely Kangana, you’re not the victim here? Does the simple decision to speak out against a crime actually count as a ‘debate’?
This entire part of the conversation is disturbing to say the least, as Sadhguru brings up all kinds of practical explanations for lynching. You see, those of us who live in the city don’t understand how “village justice” works. There is something about how India is a pastoral country, where cattle or especially cows are equal to wealth. Both him and Kangana completely ignore the fact that none of the recent lynchings have been about the victim stealing cows. In fact to justify his expertise on the matter, Sadhguru states that he has witnessed 3 lynchings over cows himself. Yes!
"You steal a cow, they beat you up... This is how it is." - Sadhguru Jaggi
If you had to settle on a theme for the evening, it would be nationalism. Kangana repeats how nationalism is important to unite the country and Sadhguru agrees despite being “not for nationhood”. Both of them think the media is downplaying the government’s achievements and doesn’t want people to know that India is doing well. It’s important to point out here that Jaggi is an ‘unofficial’ supporter of PM Modi and the BJP government as well. He has praised everything from demonetisation to Swachch Bharat.
At this point, with their repeated use of ‘nationalism’ over ‘patriotism’, the whole thing started feeling like a PR exercise. Sadhguru even points out to Prasoon Joshi, head of CBFC being in the audience.
"When a war breaks, liberals are the first ones to say, in my industry people say ‘why should we be bothered with war, we are artistes,’ to demotivating an army man who is protecting the borders for you, a rape takes place in Kashmir and they say, ‘Hindustan raped our daughter,’ to be pointing fingers at each other when the country is so vulnerable and trying to break a civil war, is that what liberals do?" - Kangana Ranaut
There were a ton of absurd moments in the interview, with Sadhguru claiming the common Arabic name ‘Hind’ was derived from India (arguable) to Kangana asking whether Shiva could be an alien (also arguable). As someone who was obsessed with The X Files and UFO lore as a young boy, it’s exciting to see Ancient Aliens go mainstream.
There have been hints and rumours of Kangana launching a political career for a while. Between her support for Modi, this chat and her upcoming ‘martyr’s biopic’ as she quaintly put it, she has made her platform very clear. We’re just waiting for the official announcement.
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