Arnab Goswami, the editor-in-chief of Republic, dedicated two hours on October 2 and October 4 discussing and debating the controversial Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan affair with numerous panelists. Before the debate was aired, the channel advertised it with a sensational hashtag #HrithikStalkedOrNot on Twitter. Hrithik Roshan’s lawyer had filed a 29-page complaint accusing Kangana of stalking the star. So, Arnab Goswami decided to take up the fight for justice for an allegedly wronged and harassed man. Who other than a man as disenfranchised as Hrithik Roshan needs Goswami’s voice on a Thursday night in a country like India?
So, what exactly happened on these 55 minute long debates?
From the word go, Goswami had taken a pro-Hrithik stance. Well, to be fair he tried to be fair. His channel apparently contacted Kangana Ranaut’s representatives who refused to give any comments, according to a Republic reporter.
His main grouse was when Hrithik had submitted his phone, a forensic report (we don’t the technical details about it) and a laptop to the investigating authorities, why has Kangana refused to so. He also read out bits and parts of the emails allegedly sent by Kangana Ranaut to Hrithik Roshan to his email id. After reading the email he exclaimed, “If the same thing was written to a woman by a man, he would be taken to the cleaners”. He constantly asked, “Do people in love hack each other’s email accounts?” He also kept questioning Kangana’s claim if there was indeed an affair between the two.
So, what exactly was Arnab Goswami trying to investigate on the show:
- If there was an affair between the two actors?
- Do people in love hack each other’s account?
- Why was Kangana not submitting her phone and laptop?
The answer to first questions, only Hrithik and Kangana can give. Hrithik says no, Kangana says yes. We don’t know whom to believe. None of our business either. It’s not a legal issue also. So no point debating it on national television. To the second one, we need to do an independent survey on how people in love behave. However, even without such hard data at hand, it is safe to say, lovers do hack into each other’s account. The third question only begets more question. Whom does she have to submit her laptop to? If she was not cooperating with the investigations, why was no source from the investigative agencies quoted? What exactly is investigative agency’s version?
In fact, there were no representatives from either Kangana Ranaut’s side or Hrithik Roshan’s side. No lawyer related to the duo or cyber-crime experts — as the allegations are mostly about cyberstalking and hacking — were invited.
Then how did he manage to fill the 55 minutes of the debate? Simple. He got talking heads, plenty of them. People who are not even remotely related to either party. Not less than 10 panelists were invited on one of the debates. These included eminent personalities like actress Maya Alagh, ad-man Prahlad Kakkar, BJP spokesperson Shaina NC, actress Tanishtha Chatterjee, Tahira Hassan, lawyer Abha Singh, Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Swapnil Kothari, Aakash Deep, Nasir Abdullah.
They were neatly divided into for-Hrithik and for-Kangana camps.
Actress Maya Alagh was the first one to jump into the discussion claiming the two never had an affair to begin with. When Arnab asked how she could be so sure about it, she pretty much repeated what was written in Hrithik Roshan’s Facebook post – that there was no evidence of it in public domain, that a 7-year relationship cannot survive without a photo of it or a memento from a girl’s lover.
Shaina NC, who is usually seen defending the government, was representing Hrithik on the 4th October show. Her argument was this was not a “man vs woman” issue.
Soon Tanishtha (on Kangana’s side) added her two bits of wisdom – it’s wrong to wash dirty linen in public. Prahlad Kakkar (who was supposedly on Kangana’s side) implied the actress may not have been in the right state of mind. That she speaks about her affair with Hrithik Roshan “so passionately”, it’s impossible to not believe her. He thinks there are “two Kanganas”. He called her “delusional”. Another panelist Nasir Abdullah said when he looks at Kangana he finds an “extremely unhappy woman”. Again Abdullah was supposed to be Kangana’s side in this “fair” debate.
Lawyer Abha Singh, who seemed to be the only one representing Kangana’s interest called Hrithik Roshan a “flop star”. To which other panelists from Hrithik’s side said, “How can you call Hrithik a flap star, Kangana has only two hits.”
While this mindless shouting match was on, Arnab Goswami on more than one occasion emphasised he was not an “entertainment journalist” and that “I am not an expert in this form of journalism, I am much happier breaking other scams”.
Here’s a clip of the debate.
On October 2, another set of panelists including Rahul Easwar, Shaina NC, Ishkaran Bhandari. discussed the same topic. Ishkaran said:
If such explicit mails were sent by a man and a woman complained, he’d have been arrested.
You can watch these clips of the show to understand the pointlessness of the whole thing.
— Republic (@republic) October 2, 2017
— Republic (@republic) October 2, 2017
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