It’s a rare moment when all political parties come together to speak in one voice.
The unilateral action by the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Kangana Ranaut’s home and office in Pali Hill, has rankled all, be it the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Maharashtra government coalition partners, the Congress and the NCP.
Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar, the senior-most leader in the coalition, has commented with disapproval on the demolition, as have Congress leaders, Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam.
Nirupam goes as far to question the timing of this action. And he is not alone.
According to one report, there are over 90,000 illegal constructions in the Maximum City. Unregulated construction is on raw display every monsoon season, when the city gives way to the rains and citizens go through preventable hardship.
So the alacrity with which the Maharashtra government acted against Kangana Ranaut’s property smacks of vendetta.
Miss Ranaut is known to speak her mind, often her statements are provocative by design. She herself has been on the receiving end of grossly misogynistic attacks. A few years ago, when she had a falling out with a male colleague, there was a public airing of dirty laundry that has been unparalleled.
This latest assault has come when she decided to speak up about Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic death. She was the first, if only A list Bollywood celebrity, to raise suspicions over his death and the allegedly tardy investigation carried out by the Mumbai police.
More damning in her first intervention was her oft-repeated charge of nepotism, which is an issue that she has been in the news for in the past. She followed this interview up with another, her attacks becoming more targeted, this time cornering the Maharashtra government and her own fraternity.
Ms Ranaut is not popular with a section in the film industry, mostly for her often confrontational attitude and, more subtly, because she is a woman who can’t be controlled.
Recently, a senior and award-winning cinematographer took to Twitter to share that he had refused a film with the actress since he wasn’t comfortable working with her.
Ms Ranaut responded with grace and called his decision her loss. The raging Kangana of the past has been replaced by a calm and confident woman, we often forget that we have seen her grow up under the arc lights. She entered the industry at sixteen and is now a mature woman in her thirties - well versed with the ways of the world and the glamour business.
It has toughened her in a way that is reminiscent of J Jayalalithaa’s journey many decades ago. The film business is often cruel, not to mention exploitative. The elixir it offers is corrosive although intoxicating. If you partake in it, the headiness will keep you going, but its contents will hollow you out from the inside.
The rage one witnesses is often drawn from a deep pool fed by an existence that has faced many violations. It is anger, alright. But it is an anger that has found its justification.
So when people criticised Kangana for making the Sushant issue about herself, little did they realise that she was seeing herself in his downfall. It was personal and about so many others who don’t have a platform.
The Shiv Sena is a party known for being intemperate, scenes of the party people being on the loose on the streets of Maharashtra, and especially Mumbai, smashing windows and property have played out all too often on TV screens over the decades.
The fact that they are in power and now have access to a JCB bulldozer is not a leap of circumstance for the public. This is where the experienced Congress and NCP, caught in an unnatural alliance with a temperamental ally, find themselves.
Their distancing themselves from this behaviour in public is noteworthy because it speaks of the unease in the Maha Vikas Aghadi, and the Shiv Sena who in its first turn in power in the chief minister's seat has proven to be immature.
The general public’s response to this action is unanimously negative, something that cannot be ignored by any government in power. Whilst Ms Ranaut has travelled a long way in her journey under public scrutiny, so has the Shiv Sena.
The venerable Balasaheb Thackeray had it figured out when he rejected any ‘position’ in government – he recognised his party's temperament and the constraints that guide the conduct of office holders.
Can you imagine Balasaheb getting into a direct confrontation with a young film actress over her comments, let alone ordering a bulldozer to knock down her home?