ICYMI, the two actors, Ranbir Kapoor and Mahira Khan were clicked bonding over a smoke outside a hotel in New York. The Internet exploded with hate comments for Pakistani actress Mahira Khan (note: only Mahira, not Ranbir!) for disrespecting her nation's 'culture and values' by openly smoking in public in apparently "skimpy" apparel that was below a noble woman's dignity.
Many women activists, users on social media, and even celebs have come out in support for Mahira Khan's cause, including her "partner-in-crime-but-not-in-being-hated", Ranbir Kapoor, and openly called out the invasion of privacy and sheer hypocrisy.
Ranbir Kapoor issued a statement —
"I've gotten to know Mahira in a personal capacity over the last few months. She is somebody who I admire and respect, for her achievements and even more for the person she is. It is very unfair the way she is being judged and spoken about. What is also sad is the inequality in judgement just because she is a woman. I request you to stop the negativity and move on with your beautiful god gifted lives. Peace and love," the actor told a leading media channel. In a final message to the trolls, he added,
"PS: Both smoking and hate are injurious to health."
After days of silence on the matter, Mahira Khan finally opened up about the controversy in an interview with Something Haute magazine while promoting her upcoming film, Verna, and said her decision to not release a statement was not a deliberate one.
"I'm a very strong woman but when all of this happened, I was completely shattered and broken. I would think about posting a statement every day. Then I would stop myself because I just wouldn't know what to say."
"People ask me if I'm a good role model for my fans, and my response to that is that yes, I am a role model but I'm not the perfect role model. I am human, I make mistakes. And I was really happy to see that there were so many people who stood up for me. It goes to show that the narrative in Pakistan is changing, and if nothing else, I'm happy to have been part of that narrative." she added.
Mahira Khan talked about the release of her new film's rap song Power Di Game that released a while ago, and actually said that she used it as a means to revert to the trolling. She even confessed she realised that she could sense the 'disappointment' that had led this controversy, and called herself 'only human'.
"Thankfully, 'Power Di Game' was ready to be released, which I thought was perfect timing, so I just posted that as sort of a response to the trolls. But to be honest, I understand where all the criticism came from and it didn't come from a place of hate. I'm not talking about the trolls but those who were genuinely disappointed to see those pictures. It's the same disappointment that my nani or my mamoo would have felt seeing that. So even now when I meet an older lady who says that she didn't like the pictures, I'm quick to apologize," she told Something Haute.
Whether this is genuine, or a well-placed confession (perfectly in sync with an upcoming film)—is hard to tell. But we do know that while Bollywood is rife with rumours about Mahira Khan and Ranbir Kapoor dating, this entire controversy highlights a deeper, and graver issue that plagues the society.