Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut is taking her attack on American singer Rihanna — after the latter showed support for the farmers protests in India — to the next and more aggressive level.
Here are some excerpts from Ranaut's multiple tweets: "what is so special about her", "99 per cent India does not care or respect American way of life, one of the most debouched, money minded and self centred societies", "she hasn’t released a single song in 5 years, sells make up but looks like she is feeling Corona blues", "Forbes estimated incomes are just PR gimmicks".
The Queen actor, who backs the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP party, then proceeded to call the Grammy-winner a 'porn singer' — not just Rihanna, she used the same label for Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, also using the word "terrorist" for the Sikh politician.
"This terrorist is porn singer [...] Rihanna's friend [...] he is accused of funding terroristic activities," she wrote as a reply to a video of Singh talking about how he knows the US singer.
This prompted musician and comedian Ali Gul Pir to intervene.
Probably baffled (much like us), Pir pointedly asked: "Porn singer? Is that a singer who makes music for porn films only. They will refuse to sing for normal films? Please explain further. I didn’t know such a niche existed, just curious."
Now we're not sure if Ranaut purposefully sidestepped the dripping sarcasm in Pir's tweets or was actually oblivious to it. Regardless, she replied to him with an explanation:
"Someone who can’t sell music without making it sensual/adult. Unlike classical and genuine singers where body is of no consequence. A porn singer is hugely dependent on his/her flesh show off, private parts exposure and mediocre talent. This makes them absolutely massy, and junk."
In true Ali Gul Pir style, the comedian summarised her answer with even more sarcasm wrapped in not-so-subtle shade at Ranaut's ability to stay in headlines for her incendiary remarks.
"Oh okay! I understand. Like someone who doesn’t have talent, hasn’t done much work and relies on controversy and putting people down to stay in the news," he tweeted, thanking her for clearing it up and signing off with hashtags '#GoKangana and #DiePoorFarmers'.
Jagmeet Singh is among the many who have voiced concern about the violence against farmers in India. "Those calling to harm farmers must be held accountable and the right to peaceful protest must be protected," he said last week and called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to condemn the violence.
Rihanna, climate change activist Greta Thunberg and US lawyer and activist Meena Harris, the niece of Vice-President Kamala Harris, also made comments on social media, drawing attention to the plight of farmers who have been on a months-long campaign against reforms.
The comments have garnered a reaction beyond Ranaut; the Indian foreign ministry on Wednesday slammed international celebrities' remarks in support of protesting farmers as "inaccurate and irresponsible" and said vested interest groups were trying to build opinion against the country.
“Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken,” said the ministry.
What is the protest about
Tens of thousands of farmers have camped out on the outskirts of New Delhi for more than two months, demanding the withdrawal of new agricultural laws that they say benefit private buyers at the expense of growers.
The government of Prime Minster Narendra Modi says reform of the agriculture sector will bring opportunities for farmers.
The protests turned violent on Jan 26, when farmers broke into the historic Red Fort complex, with one protester killed and hundreds injured.
Talks between the government and the protest leaders have so far failed to achieve any breakthrough.