Fact Check: Amul’s ‘Not Masoom’ Cartoon Of Urmila Matondkar Is From 1995, Not Recent
Following the recent controversy between actors Kangana Ranaut and Urmila Matondkar, where the former called the latter a “soft porn star” on national television, a cartoon has cropped up on social media, which many are using to add fuel to the fire. The Amul cartoon depicts their longstanding mascot dressed in a fiery red dress made iconic by Matondkar in the 1995 film Rangeela. As goes the butter brand’s witty wordplay, the caption of the cartoon reads: “Not MASOOM anymore”, referring to Matondkar’s first, most notable role in Hindi films as a child actor in Shekhar Kapur’s Masoom. People on the internet are now using this cartoon to their advantage, alleging that Amul has released the graphic now to add to the Ranaut-Matondkar debate. However, this is not so.
As many have pointed out, this cartoon is not a new one and was released by Amul back in 1995 when the film actually released. It marked Matondkar’s progression in Hindi films from a naive young Pinky in Masoom to the gorgeously sensual character of Mili in Rangeela. However fitting the cartoon may seem to the online trolls, given the current context, it is many years old.
In fact, coincidentally, Rangeela’s director Ram Gopal Verma had already run a fact-check on this days ahead of this current controversy. To mark the film’s 25th anniversary in September, Verma had tagged Matondkar and shared the cartoon:
— Ram Gopal Varma (@RGVzoomin) September 11, 2020
People Wrongly Identify The Cartoon As A New One
However, before anyone dug on this, several people had fallen prey to the cycle of fake news, including a senior journalist. She shared the cartoon in a tweet, which has since been deleted, and wrote, “Am sorry @Amul_Coop this is absolutely disgusting. When did you join the IT cell?”
Anurag Kashyap, replying to the journalist, clarifying, “If I am Not mistaken, this came out when “Rangeela” released and not now… It was meant to be an appreciation . Now misused by trolls after the current scenario.”
But while the myth of the cartoon has been busted, many are now raising questions about the ad’s obvious misogyny, and the way Matondkar has been hypersexualised. Referring to another male child actor from the same film, a user wrote, “Young male child actors also grow up to become adult actors (like for instance, Jugal Hansraj), but apparently, only the display of cleavage warrants the public comment about the loss of innocence.”
Kangana Ranaut Calls Urmila Matondkar A “Soft Porn Star”
In a recent interview with Times NOW with anchor Navika Kumar, Ranaut, answering a question on the claim that she was creating controversy to get a political ticket into the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), said, “One doesn’t have to be a genius to figure it’s not very difficult to get a ticket… Even Urmila Matondkar, she is a soft porn star. I know it’s very blatant… But she’s not known for her acting for sure. What is she known for? For doing soft porns right? If she can get a ticket, why won’t I get a ticket?”
Matondkar in an earlier interview the same day with another channel had slammed Ranaut’s recent stance against the film industry and its alleged “drug mafia,” while saying, “Does she (Kangana) know Himachal is the origin of drugs? She should start from her own state.”
Ranaut drew flak online for her statement towards Matondkar, with many fans criticising her for trying to talk down a senior artist. Meanwhile, Swara Bhasker, Anubhav Sinha, Smriti Kiran and others from Bollywood came out in support of Matondkar, lauding her for her impeccable record as a notable member of the film industry. Read our opinion on that here.
The views expressed are the author’s own.