Long before the troll hordes called boycott of bollywood films, there was Kamaal Rashid Khan, also known as KRK, unleashing his malicious attacks on new releases in Hindi and the fraternity with alarming regularity. For more than a decade, he has made derogatory remarks about films, belittled filmmakers and made unsubstantiated claims about the industry on social media.
Alternating between outrageous and pompous statements, KRK first caught the public’s attention around the time of the release of his film Deshdrohi (2008). He not only acted as the protagonist, an advocate for North Indian migrants in Mumbai, but also produced and wrote a story about the discrimination they face in the metropolis. The film flopped at the box office, was panned by critics and, most importantly, was banned by the government of Maharashtra for two months. This, of course, did not stop Khan.
The following year, 2009, he moved into Bigg Boss 3’s house as one of its members. While the controversial actor-producer might have seemed like the perfect contestant at the time, given Bigg Boss’s nature to stir up drama and fight for TRP, he was eliminated due to his erratic behavior. He threw a bottle at another member, Rohit Verma, and threatened to beat him up.
He soon became a film critic and later a trade analyst. He joined Twitter in February 2010 and launched his YouTube channel on May 25, 2013. These platforms have become his vehicle for publishing his reviews, mostly malicious and scathing. Under the guise of reviews and analysis, he often unleashed his tirade on the entertainment industry. He declared most upcoming releases a “disaster” long before they hit theaters; ridiculed the actors who played them; and rarely shied away from personal attacks.
The industry has largely chosen to ignore his obscene comments without filters. They even laughed at it. Many times he has stated that he is more popular than Shah Rukh Khan, whom he considered his main “competitor”. He called Salman Khan “Actor 2-Rs” (literal translation of the expression in Hindi do kaudi) and attacked actor Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) for “not knowing how to act”. Many others, including Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, he also called “actor 2-Rs”.
He recently called Akshay Kumar “dongs (impostor)”. Misrepresenting Vijay Deveraconda’s name, he called actor Liger “Vijay Anaconda”, in addition to attacking his film. Over the years, he has targeted Karan Johar and Ranbir Kapoor in particular. He posted several videos debunking Aamir Khan’s latest release Laal Singh Chaddha before its release. Similarly, he declared Ek Villain Returns and Jugjugg Jeeyo flops ahead of their theatrical release. More recently, he has targeted other public figures, including cricketers. He blamed Anushka Sharma for the depression of her husband and cricketer Virat Kohli.
However, KRK’s commercials, full of smear campaigns against popular actors, stupid speculation and unsubstantiated gossip, are watched by many. This can be seen from the views that his videos have received on YouTube. He has 5.1 million followers on Twitter, 1.11 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, and 114,000 followers on Instagram. From the comments of his subscribers it is clear that not everyone agrees with his views. Many even made fun of him. But, oddly enough, with his sarcasm and ludicrous statements, he put on a social media spectacle that many find funny and funny, although they know that he often crosses the line.
There have been several instances where the industry has fought back. Actor Manoj Bajpayee filed a libel complaint when KRK called the former “Ganjadi(marijuana addict). Salman Khan too filed a complaint for defamation for calling him and Salman Khan Films “outlaws”. KRK removed those tweets after complaints. Ajay Devgn called him for filing a trumped-up lawsuit, while actress Sunny Leone filed an FIR against him for falsely claiming that she said, “Rape is not a crime.”
The controversial figure, whose real name is Mohammed Rashid Mohammed Iqbal Kamal, became known as Kamal Rashid Khan or KRK when Deshdrohi was released. In August of this year, he changed his name again. He wrote on Facebook: “Today I decided to drop Khan from my name and add my wife’s last name Kumar to my name. My wife’s name is Anita Kumar. So now my name is Kamal Rashid Kumar!” He updated his Twitter handle to reflect this change.
According to information posted on his website, KRK was born on January 1, 1975 in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh. In an interview with Mumbai Mirror in 2009, he stated that he has a luxurious house in Dubai. He has posted little to no personal information other than a short video of his daughter Farah Khan graduating from high school this May and a photo with her mother on her last Mother’s Day with the message “… Maa. I miss you.”
Is KRK’s foul language and obnoxious way of standing out in an industry that requires a lot of effort and energy from those who strive to succeed? It’s hard to tell if KRK was simply thriving on the shocking value he provided with his critique of the industry, or if he desperately wanted to be a part of it. He did often make pompous claims that he had surpassed some big names in the Hindi film industry. The most recent of these was the announcement that his next production, Deshdrohi 2, would be larger than Baahubali 2 SS Rajamouli. Can the latest lawsuit rein in the rickety cannon that has long been spewing poison against the industry?