Dear Indian Media,
Have you ever heard of fact-checking? It's something that I took the time to do before writing one of my previous open letters, Not Buying What You're Selling: An Open Letter to Hrithik Roshan. The opening paragraph of that open letter applies to this letter, too.
As an Indian-American who's diligently followed online articles about Kangana Ranaut (and Hrithik Roshan) for the past two years, your complete inability to fact-check never ceases to amaze me. I just read yet another pathetic excuse for an article, entitled Here's why we don't believe Kangana Ranaut's claims that she lost an award to Soha Ali Khan, written by Sreeju Sudhakaran for Times Now and "updated" on Dec. 20, 2017. Hilariously, this article says, "let's state some facts," so let's go through a couple of them:
Sudhakaran's "Fact" #1 is that "Rang De Basanti had released in January 2006, while Life in A...Metro was released in May 2007. So there is very little chance that both the movies will be considered together for an award. And they haven't!"
WRONG. Both movies HAVE been considered together for an award.
Sudhakaran's "Fact" #2 is that "Soha Ali Khan had only won two awards for her performance in RDB and that was for IIFA and Producers Guild Film Awards."
WRONG again. Soha Ali Khan had NOT only won two awards for her performance in RDB. In addition to the two that Sudhakaran mentioned (IIFA and Producers Guild Film Awards), she also won one of the Sabse Favorite Kaun Awards: for sabsey Favourite Nayi Heroine – Rang De Basanti (2007).
Sudhakaran's article concludes by asking, "So which movie are you really, talking about, Kangana?"
Interestingly enough, Kangana already made it crystal clear which movie she was "really" talking about! Sudhakaran wrote, "HT reports her saying, 'Early on, I got dressed up for some award, I don't remember the award but I was supposed to receive the award for supporting cast for Life In A Metro. I got stuck in traffic...I didn’t make it and Soha (Ali Khan) got it for Rang De Basanti.'"
How hard is it to fact-check this?
It literally took me all of one minute to find that Kangana has already spoken about this in the past! A post entitled When Soha Ali Khan got Kangana's award clearly states, "Debutant actress Kangana Ranaut was taken aback when her trophy was given to Soha Ali Khan at the Sabse Favourite Kaun awards function recently...
'I was told I was getting the award for Sabsey Favourite Nayi heroine. I got delayed in the traffic. When I reached the venue I could hear Shah Rukh's name being announced. Obviously my category had already passed,' Kangana told IANS.
'I was told to stay on and that my trophy would be sent to me at home. I sat through the rest of the function without knowing that my award had been given to someone else. I didn't even know Soha got the award until a friend phoned to say so. It's rather sad and funny,' said Kangana, who made an impressive debut with Gangster--A Love Story this year...
'It's okay. I like Soha a lot. They probably needed a presence on stage. It doesn't look nice to give the award to an absentee winner. I'm sure I'll have many other opportunities.'"
Clueless Sudhakaran, who is extremely representative of every single writer of every single article I've read -- from the Indian media -- throughout the past two years, concludes his own "fact"-filled article by saying, "No we aren't saying that she is blatantly lying; she could have just messed up with the names and all. But why say something when you don't have facts and take someone else's achievement away in the process? We are sure Karan Johar and co would be rejoicing at this faux pas of Kangana!"
LOL! In reality, Sudhakaran "just messed up" and needs to answer his own question: why say something when you don't have facts?
The only faux pas here is his own.
Edit (added on Dec. 24, 2017): Sreeju Sudhakaran tweeted the following two tweets after reading this open letter.
Tweet #1 - "From morning getting trolled for a story I had written on Kangana. First of all, she goofed up the movie names so cant blame us for the faux pas. Anyway here's the updated version tht mentions the movie where she was actually nominated for and the award!"
Tweet #2 - "Dear Madam, I hav d utmost respect for Kangana as an actress. But she did goof up on the movies that she mentioned in the podcast. Anyway don't have any shame on stating the facts 'cos that's my job. Also updated my original article on which movie she was supposed to win d award!"
First off, I apologize for not realizing that the "Sabse Favorite Kaun" award, that Kangana lost to Soha Ali Khan, was awarded in 2006 and not 2007. Unlike Sudhakaran, however, I have the ability to apologize and clearly indicate when and how my writing was updated and modified; he has modified his article (which I'd included a link to, above) without clearly indicating -- on that page itself -- when and how it was modified, in both its title and its content. Moreover, I haven't seen any apology from Sudhakaran for getting one of his vital "facts" wrong. He said it was a "fact" that Soha Ali Khan had won only 2 awards for Rang De Basanti, but this is (still) NOT true. (Keep in mind that I wrote an open letter, and am not paid by anyone, while Sudhakaran wrote an article for Times Now and was presumably paid for his work).
My overall criticism still stands. Even in his two tweets (above), Sudhakaran keeps saying that Kangana "did goof up on the movies that she mentioned"; apparently, "she goofed up the movie names so cant blame us for the faux pas." In fact, Kangana only "goofed up" on one movie name, not both. Simply finding all of the awards that Soha Ali Khan has won, for Rang De Basanti, would have helped Sudhakaran to see that Kangana told the truth about having lost an award to her. And Kangana did say that she didn't remember which award, so her false conclusion that it was for "some supporting cast" (and therefore, for "Life in a Metro") is understandable; the fact is that winner Soha Ali Khan was a supporting actress in Rang De Basanti.
It would've been nice to see an article from the Indian media that had said something like, "Here's the award that Kangana lost to Soha Ali Khan," especially because -- as I'd pointed out in my open letter -- Kangana has already spoken to IANS in the past about which award it was! Because of this, the Indian media could've simply pointed out that Kangana was supposed to win for "Gangster," and not "Life in A Metro." Notably, Sudhakaran did point this out, but only after reading my open letter, which included an article that I had to find for him: When Soha Ali Khan got Kangana's award.