Popularly known for her work as a screenwriter in commercial films including Manmarziyaan and Kedarnath, Kanika Dhillon’s films have mostly managed to create headlines.
While Manmarziyaan reportedly hurt Sikh sentiments, Kedarnath was accused of promoting love jihad. In fact, her forthcoming film, Balaji Motion Pictures’ Mental Hai Kya was also under the scanner when there was an outrage among people who objected to the movie stars Rajkummar Rao and Kangana Ranaut balancing a blade on their tongues on the poster.
Kanika informs, “A poster never conveys the overall story. As a society, we have very strict definitions of ‘sane’ and ‘normal’. I feel the story of Mental Hai Kya tries to portray people who don’t fit in these boxes. It asks-how do we look at them without judgement?”
“Without painting disorders negatively, I, as a scriptwriter, have the right to tell an entertaining story, using a mass medium,” she adds.
While Manmarziyaan was lauded for its depiction of real, messy love, Kedarnath was dismissed by some as hackneyed. The trope of a Hindu girl falling for a Muslim boy is a cliché.
She explains, “I wish I could say the Hindu-Muslim divide was passé. Strangely, even in 2019, this is the one issue that swings votes. Even now people are lynched because of their religious identity. It’s my duty to write about it until it stops. If my story can make even one person evaluate, or even if it can just make that person uncomfortable, I will consider my job done.”