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Mallika Dua-Akshay Kumar-Twinkle Khanna controversy: A maxi cheeseburger of ironies

Quite often, men are given the ill-advice that if you have just one woman, she will fight with you, but if you have two women, they will fight over you. The reason I say this as ill-advice is because, while the women may fight over you, but then you would be dealing with the pressure of protecting two women and that can be something very dreadful to imagine.

Now, without going into the over-analysis of that, let’s pick a case from current affairs wherein actually a man and two women are involved. The women sure seem to be fighting with each other but not over the man. You have guessed it right. I am referring to the recent controversy surrounding seemingly insensitive remarks made by Bollywood star Akshay Kumar to comedian Mallika Dua in a TV show aired on the Star Plus channel, which called for a huge reaction by Mallika’s father and journalist Vinod Dua, followed by a public outrage against Akshay on the social media and only when she saw her husband getting decimated in the public perception, did his wife, Twinkle Khanna also decide to jump into the battlefield.

Twinkle, who writes with the name MrsFunnyBones, as ironical it may sound because she is rarely funny, took digs at Mallika for “over-reacting”. For the context, the comment which Akshay made, which is very clearly visible and audible in a video that has gone viral, is as follows.

22 years old comedian from Rajasthan, Shyam Rangeela, famous for his mimicry of PM Narendra Modi, performed on TV and he gave a wonderful performance. As was the ritual of the show, Akshay went on to ring a bell to mark his performance while other mentors of the show, including Mallika joined Akshay in ringing the bell and then Akshay says – “Mallika ji aap bell bajao, main aapko bajata hun” (Ms. Mallika, you ring the bell, while I will ring you).

The statement’s not the problem. The problem is with the declined form of the usage of Hindi language wherein a lot of otherwise decent words and phrases have come to mean a lot of slanderous things over the past few decades (thanks to Bollywood and the “tapori” language of Mumbai). Now here “Bajata hun” can have multiple meanings, one of which is “banging” which we all know what it translates to.

So, where is the irony? It’s a comedy show, and in the spur of the moment, Akshay just made a comment and it is always possible to take it in the lighter stride. And Mallika could actually be seen laughing when the comment was made. The trouble starts when her anti-Modi father, journalist Vinod Dua, sees that the comment was made on his daughter on a program wherein Modi was mimicked, the performance was awesome, and the video of the unaired show went viral, and then Mr. Dua decides to encash the opportunity to make hay while the Sun shines by creating controversy, so that his media channel “The Wire” can get some mileage.

So, Vinod Dua, writes a scathing post against Akshay calling him cretin and threatening to “Screw him” openly. Without taking any sides, I can say that the stand taken by Vinod Dua is not correct. Instead of slamming and abusing Akshay, he could have easily filed a complaint under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code against Akshay. But, he knew that the complaint won’t stand because Mallika has not complained immediately and she was clearly seen laughing at the comment. So, Mr. Dua decides to take advantage of the situation by talking about it socially and dishing out moral accolades.

Then, suddenly, Mallika Dua also realizes that actually she is the one who has been “subjected to harassment” at workplace and starts singing against Akshay on the social media. And then, many social media champions remind Mallika Dua of the kind of sleazy comedy that she herself performs on YouTube and asked her, if her morally elevated dad, Mr. Dua has seen those shows or not. For which, Mallika has the standard feminist reply – do not judge a woman by her past.

Well, then how do we determine whether a woman has really suffered or she is just playing the victim card? Feminists know that if they don’t bring in their defense of “not judging a woman by her past”, then all their claims will fall flat. The problem is with the stupid men, who fall for such baseless arguments sans logic or common sense.

So, that’s the irony from the “complainant’s” side. Now, are there any ironies on the side of the accused, i.e., Akshay? Well, it seems there are. Akshay Kumar, a Canadian national, and a known playboy since decades, who has ditched many famous heroines of his time, after romancing them, getting engaged with them, rose to fame recently, when he did a lot of movies with either the patriotic theme or the feminist theme or both.

So, a Canadian national, who refuses to accept Indian citizenship, does a bunch of patriotic movies and becomes a hero in real life. I don’t want to know if this reminds you of any particular Italian lady. And then, at the same time, our flamboyant Casanova, having sent a few famous actresses down the depression lane, starts talking about “women empowerment and respecting women” with his films like Rustom and Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, and his upcoming film – The Padman. And while all this, he is accused of passing a sleazy and insensitive remark to a female co-worker on the sets of a TV show.

But, that’s not the end of the irony. His wife and feminist icon, Twinkle Khanna, well known for her anti-male stands when she talked about men should not live more than 40 years, or mothers are like God but mothers-in-law are like devils, comes to the rescue of her accused husband and resorts to abuse-apology and victim blaming as she calls the response of the Dua clan as an overreaction and lack of sense of humor.

 

Now, there’s a double irony here. First of all, Twinkle is extremely critical of Hindu customs of being loyal to your husband and calls them regressive and patriarchal, but when it comes to her own husband, she defends him nonetheless and secondly, her stand is contradictory of her otherwise social stand on women’s issues.

So, we have a complainant who has a past of sleazy performances, an accused who is drawn into a region of conflict of interest, a campaigner for the complainant who has professional and political mileages to be drawn by keeping the debate alive and a campaigner for the accused who has her hands dirty with sabotaging her own social stand of moral values and issues, because this time, it’s about her husband.

Would you not like to call this as a “Maxi Cheeseburger of Ironies”? I would definitely call this one. Something to be used for entertainment and coffee-table gossips, not moral compassing.

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