The Incarnation Sita casting controversy: Months after she was mercilessly trolled, her face disfigured in memes and even the name of her children dragged into controversy, turns out that Kareena Kapoor Khan was never approached to play the titular role in The Incarnation: Sita. Will this news make people question their online behaviour and force them to ask why they chose to believe that Khan was asking rupees 12 crore to play the role, even when there was no confirmation from Khan herself?
On September 14, makers of The Incarnation: Sita announced that actor Kangana Ranaut will be playing the lead role in this Alaukik Desai directorial. The mythological film has been written by KV Vijayendra Prasad along with lyricist Manoj Muntashir, who has also penned the dialogues for it.
In an interview with the Free Press Journal, Muntashir clarified that no other actor was ever approached for this role, as the team had always wanted to cast Ranaut. “Rumours were floating around about actresses like Kareena and Deepika being approached for the project, but they were not true. The Sita Devi we have sketched has various shades, and Kangana is the best cast from that point of view,” he said.
So let us get this straight: Kareena Kapoor was trolled for nothing. All she had to do was exist, marry a man of her choice and not deny a rumour to be subjected to so much hate.
In June this year, Boycott Kareena Kapoor began trending on Twitter when reports claiming that Khan had been approached to play the role of Sita began doing rounds. It was also suggested that the actor had demanded a paycheck worth 12 crore rupees. However, social media wasn’t warring over the gender pay gap in Bollywood, instead, Khan was being trolled was asking such a huge amount of money to play a revered character. The controversy simply kept snowballing, with a right-wing group issuing a memorandum that warned about protests if such a film was ever made with Khan.
Kareena Kapoor Khan, on the other hand, maintained a silence on the issue for once. During a recent interview with The Guardian, she opened up about the controversy saying, “It’s not about being demanding, it’s about being respectful towards women.”
There is a larger question that social media users in India need to ask themselves – why do we get swayed so much by baseless reports? Why do we overlook harassment of women, people of minorities, or any person based on whispers or fake news, in the name of moral righteousness? What was achieved from this mass outrage, apart from the show of strength to “others”?
If the trolls wanted to remind women of the cost of crossing the social boundaries set for them – marrying a man of another religion, demanding a fee on basis of your capability, not gender, or naming your children based on your liking and not that of our society, then this brigade has achieved little. Khan will go on to do as she pleases, and regular Indian women have had enough of such intimidation tactics. We know how tides turn on social media. We know how short its memory is. We also know that letting trolls have their way once won’t stop their menace, it will only make things worse.
Views expressed are the author’s own.