Film trade analyst Komal Nahta deposed before the 10th Andheri metropolitan magistrate court today (July 24) in the defamation case filed by writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar against actress Kangana Ranaut. He was cross-examined by Kangana’s lawyer, Rizwan Siddiqui.

The defence lawyer asked Nahta whether he knew Javed Akhtar by virtue of being in the film industry since 35 years. Nahta replied that not only Javed Akhtar, he knew every person in the film industry, whether he was a star, producer, director, music director, writer, etc. Upon this, Siddiqui wondered whether he knew Akhtar better than many others. Komal replied that he also knew defendant Kangana Ranaut very well, more so because he had interviewed her on several occasions and she often telephoned him soon after he had watched any film starring her because she wanted to know what he thought of the film. He added that it was not rare for Kangana to tell him (Nahta) in such telephonic conversations that she relied totally on his reviews because he was honest and forthright in his views.

The defence lawyer then asked Nahta if he knew Dr. Agarwal, who was present at the meeting between Javed Akhtar and Kangana Ranaut, held to settle the dispute between Hrithik Roshan and the actress, and in which meeting Javed Akhtar was alleged to have threatened Kangana. Nahta replied in the negative and added that he had never ever met Dr. Agarwal. Siddiqui then queried if Nahta had telephoned Akhtar post-watching her interview on Republic Television, in which Kangana said that Akhtar had threatened her in the said meeting and told her that if she did not apologise, Rakesh Roshan would have her sent to jail where she would be forced to commit suicide. Komal said that he had indeed spoken to Akhtar after the interview, upon which the defence lawyer asked him why he had not cared to speak with Kangana like he spoke to Akhtar. Nahta replied that he didn’t find it necessary to talk to Kangana as she had made her allegations loud and clear on TV. Nahta also clarified that he felt it imperative to speak with Akhtar because his (Nahta’s) family and friends taunted him for having contacts with “a person like Javed Akhtar who threatened women”, that too, an accomplished and brilliant actress like Kangana. Nahta also made it amply clear that although he had spoken to Akhtar, not even a word of his conversation had found its way to the reportage of the defamation case in his magazine, Film Information, till today.

Siddiqui asked Nahta whether he never felt like talking to anybody else. Upon this, Nahta countered by saying that Siddiqui himself had said earlier that there were only four persons in the meeting under reference and they were Javed Akhtar, Kangana Ranaut, her sister, Rangoli, and their doctor, Dr. Agarwal, and when he (Nahta) had made it clear that he did not know Dr. Agarwal at all and that he did not deem it necessary to speak with Kangana, whom else could he possibly have spoken to, about the interview?

The defence lawyer further asked Komal if he had Rangoli’s number in his cell phone. Nahta replied that as far as he could remember, he didn’t have her number, but offered to check in his phone right there. He added that to the best of his memory, he had never spoken to Rangoli because he believed in keeping direct contacts with the stars rather than going through their secretaries. He explained that since Kangana knew him very well, there had never been a need to approach her via Rangoli.

At one stage, Rizwan Siddiqui also asked Komal Nahta if he knew that Akhtar was known for his short temper and that he often lost his temper when people did not agree with his view point. Nahta replied, “I’m not aware if Javed Akhtar is short-tempered or not, he may be, he may not be.” He continued, “I’ve interviewed him on several occasions but he never lost his temper.” Referring to his deposition in court for examination on July 10, Nahta said, he would repeat that he knew Javed Akhtar as someone who peppered his conversations with a dash of humour.

After Nahta, Javed Akhtar’s lawyer, Jay Bharadwaj, examined prime witness Dr. Agarwal who said, he had not heard Javed threatening Kangana in the meeting in which he was also present. He also said that while leaving, Kangana had told Javed that she was due to fly to Delhi the following day for collecting an award. In his cross examination by the defence lawyer, Dr. Agarwal said that he was not aware whether Akhtar had or hadn’t invited Hrithik Roshan for the reconciliatory meeting but he knew that Hrithik was not present in the meeting. To a question by Siddiqui whether Kangana had asked him for a meeting with Akhtar to settle her dispute with Hrithik, Dr. Agarwal said that Kangana had never asked him to arrange a meeting with Javed Akhtar but the vice versa was true.