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| August 23, 2019

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THE PERILS OF BEING TWINKLE KHANNA

THE PERILS OF BEING TWINKLE KHANNA
Ankit Gupta

 

Twinkle Khanna spent many years away from the limelight after her brief acting career, but has returned to fame in her own right in a new avatar of political and social satirist. But Bollywood marches to its own drummer, and within these walls, you don’t breathe harsh words against certain names.

For the uninitiated, Twinkle Khanna is the wife of Akshay Kumar, one of the reigning superstars of Bollywood. Twinkle is also the daughter of the legendary Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia. Ever since she opted out of a career in acting (rightfully sensing that she had no talent for it), she has been writing columns under the title, ‘Mrs Funnybones’.

In 2016, a collection of these columns appeared in the form of a book, and it of course became a bestseller. Since then, a collection of short stories also have appeared, called The Legend of Laksmi Prasad.

Khanna has dabbled in a lot of things, as befits the wife and daughter of wealthy Bollywood superstars – interior designing, opening a production house, writing social and political satire, and finally being elitist feminist icon to the downtrodden women of India.

In her newest avatar as Twitter celebrity, though, she occasionally steps on a banana peel. For instance, in a recent column, she posted an imaginary matrimonial ad that went like this: Alliance wanted for one of India’s oldest but most eligible bachelors: Dashin, non-vegetarian, successful and muscular Khandani boy. Excellent in dance, drama and art. Girl must be pretty, slim and enjoy long drives off the beaten path. Bride must not be very talkative, as groom cannot tolerate any buck buck. Caste no bar. Contact [email protected]

It is quite clear who she means, and on Twitter (or anywhere for that matter), you don’t poke fun at Salman Khan without repercussions. Out came the fan brigade in full force to roast her, and some even suggested that they will be boycotting Akshay Kumar’s movies as retaliation.

Whether this is personal axe-grinding or whether Twinkle is being herself is not particularly clear. For all we know, she and Salman Khan probably get along like a house on fire. But it is undeniable that after years of being away from the limelight, Twinkle is enjoying her second stint as a writer of satire – at least that is what she calls herself, though even the most commonplace of readers admit that her books would not sell as they are without the celebrity status of her husband and her father.

Ironic that a feminist role model relies on her husband and father for popularity? Welcome to the mad, mad world of Bollywood, where anyone can be anything as long as they know the right people or have the right name.

But as this incident shows, there are boundaries to fame that comes this way: you’re allowed to criticise only those below you on the ladder; everyone above you only expect your unfettered fawning.

Good on Twinkle for breaking that unspoken rule. True to form, she stepped on a banana peel but refused to slip.

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