Let's get one thing straight—this new video is anything but subtle. It's funny as f*ck, of course, AIB has a penchant for penetrating Indian cultural nuances like very few others can, but it leaves nothing open to interpretation.
You should ideally watch it so you can either agree with me, or disagree whole-heartedly, but either way, not have your opinions coloured by my preemptive judgments:
When you watched that, two things probably happened; the hook "Because I Have Vagina Re" probably took you aback a touch when you first heard it, and the blatant favouritism of 'actor' over 'heroine' was hilariously amusing. I must admit, it was exhibited beautifully through a parody of Karan Johar's infamous Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham scene, where the mother 'knows' her son has arrived because of her maternal intuition (and not, of course, because a helicopter landed on her veranda).
While the video was definitely entertaining, it made its point in a way so terrifyingly on-the-nose, it left no scope for subtlety (perhaps AIB's style in general). It also seemed to make a point that, maybe three months ago, would have been refreshing and poignant, but now seems like a tired rehash of a subject guaranteed to get media attention in a jiff.
We have known for years that female actors are not treated as well their male counterparts, and while I'm glad attention was drawn to it, the environment in which it was done seems a little desperate. It's sharp marketing that Kangana was used to make this point, because, really, who else has been the bastion for unearthing the seedy underbelly of Bollywood these last few years more than Kangana Ranaut?
Don't get me wrong—I like both AIB and Kangana immensely. I feel like their voices are what the country needs right now, because they don't turn a valid point into a devastatingly long, morally locked-and-loaded lecture on liberalism and equality. But the timing of this seems to be incredibly convenient. What has always been interesting about both parties in the video is that they usually go against the current, not with it.
Except, at the moment, in the current climate of screaming 'nepotism', each louder than the next (a fact that, let's face it, is hugely problematic but hardly exclusive to Bollywood alone), and Kangana being more on the grid for her contentious public statements than her acting (which Queen proved to us was definitely her métier), this video seems pandering to making a point that the public is gasping for at the moment, because it's something to talk about.
For AIB, it seems fairly on-point to cash in on the 'buzz-worthy' subject, as they often tend to do (read; demonetisation, the Alia Bhatt collab Genius Of The Year, et al). But what saddens me is that Kangana seems to be becoming more news-bait than actor on her current path. Perhaps it's the bevy of things close on each other's heels—her biting rhetoric on Koffee With Karan, the nepotism feud with Saif, the Aap Ki Adalat interview, and now this—because while I'd applaud her for being as unafraid and commendably outspoken as she is (and I do love her for it), there is this gnawing unease that it is consuming who she is entirely. For a fantastic actor to only be in people's mind-space because she's always making 'controversial comments' would be sad. I just hope Kangana remembers that choosing her next film.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Hearst Magazines