Repeat After Me, India is Mental-Health Illiterate. Kangana Ranaut’s Tone-Deaf Remark on Deepika Is Proof


Repeat After Me, India is Mental-Health Illiterate. Kangana Ranaut’s Tone-Deaf Remark on Deepika Is Proof

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Barely a day goes by anymore without actor Kangana Ranaut making a statement that has Twitter up in arms. After weeks of alleging the existence of a Bollywood mafia, and going on to spar with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Ranaut has now shifted her focus back to claims of drug abuse in Bollywood. On Monday, hours after reports indicated that actor Deepika Padukone would be summoned by the Narcotics Bureau in connection with the case against actor Rhea Chakraborty, Kangana hit out at the Padmaavat star on social media.

Sharing a “Times Now” report, which claimed that Padukone had once asked for “maal” on WhatsApp, Ranaut called the actor a “so called high society rich star child” on Twitter. She also started her latest comments with “repeat after me”, a reference to Padukone’s earlier tweets on fighting depression.

But it was the part of her tweet in which she claims “depression is a consequence of drug abuse” that led to face palms all over social media. Depression is after all a complex medical condition that affects a massive number of Indians, regardless of whether they use drugs or not.

Several took to Twitter to point out that Ranaut had now resorted to stigmatising mental illness in an attempt to further her agenda.

Some, such as activist and JNU student Shehla Rashid, pointed out that depression was neither a consequence of drug abuse or “rich kid” syndrome.

But this isn’t the first time Ranaut has made such brash statements regarding mental health. Earlier in July, the actor had said on Twitter that “Bollywood’s ‘repeat after me’ gang, depression ka dhanda chalane wale should be remanded”. It’s worth noting that a video has, meanwhile, been circulating of Ranaut admitting to have done drugs as well.

Deepika Padukone was diagnosed with depression in 2014, and has been vocal about her battle with the mental illness, earning her thousands of fans in the process. It has also helped to mainstream the conversation around mental health in the country to some extent.

Ranaut, meanwhile, has been on the rampage for the last few months, making headlines by calling protesting farmers “terrorists”, and acclaimed actor Urmila Matondkar a “soft-porn star”. As the backlash to her most recent remarks has proved, the actor can’t go a day at this point without raking up some controversy.