One of the ugliest controversies Bollywood has seen has probably been the prolonged one surrounding Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut. It all began with claims by Kangana about her alleged relationship with Hrithik Roshan for over seven years while he was still married. It was claimed that there was an alleged break up because Hrithik was unwilling to divorce his then wife, Susanne. This case has been going for over three years now with both the parties enmeshed in a legal battle.
In all this while, Hrithik hasn’t given many statements while Kangana has been quite vocal about it. Now the case has escalated to ugly levels, with the families of both the parties getting into the arena.
While we are aware of all the nasty and twisted turns this case has taken, nevertheless what we perhaps don’t realise is how such cases might often benefit from the bias we have towards the woman, where we tend to believe all claims made by the woman are true. It’s unfortunate as to how we are conditioned to think that ‘why would a woman lie’? Or ‘A man is definitely guilty when we talk about stalking, abusing and harassing.’
As a society, the analysis of such cases is often subservient to the knee-jerk emotional reaction to it.
Sarthak Singla, 21, a student from Bharati Vidyapeeth College, New Delhi talks about how some women actually exploit the weakness of the society, making everyone believe that they are the victims and how they often get away with it. He emphasizes on how usually during college years everyone goes through myriad emotions and how it is stereotypical to think that only men are chasing girls, whereas the reverse is also true.
He recalls, “When we talk about equality, we talk about it in a holistic way and it's unfair as to how we think that only men express love. One of my friends went through this trauma. A girl proposed to him, but he was not interested in the relationship. The girl’s ego was affronted, and she created a drama in college. She claimed that he harassed her by touching her inappropriately. This created complete havoc. Nobody even cared to listen to the boy’s side of the story. I feel this injustice is never talked about considering how women play this part to their advantage. I’m not here to generalise that men face injustice. I do not believe in generalization in the first place, but what I am definitely trying to convey is that we cannot be consciously biased towards a woman without examining both sides of the coin.”
It is important that we introspect the unconscious bias that we all have. There are times we consciously take our decisions and there are many who consciously support Kangana in this controversy.
However, with the plethora of messages going around with empathy pouring in for Kangana from her fans and the film fraternity, are we as audience unconsciously biased due to the bombardment of such news?
Simran Chathrah, 19, a Psychology student from Amity University, talks about how media messages affect our psyche. She talks about how with the bombardment of news on women’s issues the de facto conclusion becomes that women are the victims. She mentions that often there is a standard image or a box quote used to highlight such issue by the media. This contributes towards building a bias towards the woman, irrespective of the merits of the individual case. This can be detrimental in the long run considering how there have been various cases reported wherein women have been using this to their advantage. It’s time we use our rational mind to analyse situations rather than believe what’s been claimed. This is particularly evident in some cases of rape, which are often long-time consensual relationships which have soured.
A couple of days ago, Hrithik broke his silence over the issue with these thoughts.
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Simran Khosla, 19, studying in Lady Shri Ram College for Women, talks about how the statement of Hrithik Roshan has changed the dynamics in this case. She says, “All this while I believed that Kangana was the victim. Considering how she kept on speaking about it in the open and how her sister also defended her. However, now after confirmed reports that Hrithik has submitted all the possible evidence for the enquiry to the police and how Kangana has not, explains the reality. His silence was his patience, while we all believed it to be his tacit.”
While the case is still going and the country is waiting to know whose claims are right. It’s a day of learning for us, where we need to realise that inherent biases are detrimental to the person who might be the actual victim.
It’s important to make points, discuss and debate. However, it’s even more important to hold our decision-making until we have a clear picture from both sides. Finally, at the end of the day, our aim must be to support the truth irrespective of the gender of the parties involved.
Pic credit: Indiatoday.com
Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed in this column are author’s own.