For the first time in my life, I paused before publishing a blog. It is about the abominable on-stage behaviour of Karan Johar at the recently concluded IIFA awards in New York.
Karan Johar mocked and belittled Kangana Ranaut on a world stage as the amused Bollywood fraternity laughed out loud in the name of comedy or what is now famously known as a ‘Roast’ (incidentally Karan is the first from Bollywood to endorse and take part in a Roast).
I wrote the blog and before publishing it, emailed it to two of my confidantes — one, who is an insider in the entertainment industry and the other, an outsider.
“It’s too harsh on him. You shouldn’t publish it. It will hurt him deeply,” the reply came immediately on WhatsApp.
The other confidante, a woman, initially goaded me to go ahead because it was an amazing parallel between two criminal minds.
But then, we both realised that Karan Johar suffered from clinical depression and by his own admission, lead a ‘miserable life’. He is a prisoner of his own mind and people like him tend to be cruel at times. They can’t help it.
There’s no point in intensifying his misery further. Instead, I thought I should focus on a person who is a willing accomplice to the ‘crime’. Much akin to the sidekicks of a dangerous Bollywood villain.
That villainous sidekick is Mr Varun Dhawan. Whose spine disappears and then re-appears mysteriously as the situation demands.
Varun Dhawan has been a willing accomplice to Karan Johar in the whole IIFA fiasco. In fact, as this was a scripted skit, one can say with a certain level of certainty that he was one of the people who planned it till the last-minute detail.
For a long time now, Varun Dhawan is trying to take sides in the ongoing nepotism debate.
Basically, Mr Dhawan junior has done his best to give credence to the Karan Johar narrative that nepotism in Bollywood is a misnomer and has emphasised that after a point it becomes a test of an actor’s capability. In the long run only a good actor will survive, he keeps on saying.
Nobody complained because that is his point of view. Nobody will complain about that because he may choose to support his ‘Godfather’ (Karan’s words not mine) no matter how flawed the argument is. It is his choice and he has the freedom to do it.
But there are times when Mr Dhawan Junior mysteriously finds his spine. The way he came to Priyanka Chopra’s defense when she was being attacked online for wearing a short dress (in front of the Prime Minister) speaks a lot about how upright his mysterious spine is, at times.
There have been numerous other instances where he has shown that he can root for the right and he is not at all afraid to do so.
But when it came to Karan Johar, you lost your spine, Varun. To think that it was a script and you had planned this insult on Kangana in great detail, pains me the most.
Don’t you think that your fans are noticing it? Don’t you think that the thousands of college-going students who will pause and think, “What the heck is he upto? Why is he attacking a defenseless woman like that? Why is he a willing accomplice to this crime?”
You never thought that it might hurt your image? Did you pause to think that this behavior might show you as a devilish sidekick to a villain who’s been on a bullying spree?
Don’t you think that hiding behind a comedy skit and saying that ‘Oh it is just a joke’ is not an adequate defense?
Dear Mr Dhawan junior, you haven’t understood the nepotism debate at all.
You see Varun, thousands and thousands of Bollywood aspirants yearn for that one moment. A break. Their first film.
Because of nepotism, you get that one defining moment, your first break, on a platter.
That is the point.
That is one simple point that the ‘nepotism brigade’ is trying to drive home.
And it is not a joke.
Thousands of dreams getting shattered in Bollywood because star kids usurp the good roles… is not a joke.
The deserving handful that kill themselves out of frustration because they can’t manage a foothold in Bollywood… is not a joke.
The thousands who suffer from depression after watching non-deserving star kids smile wide on the big screen… is not a joke.
The movie after movie which stars star-kids get to act in because they have a family name to sell, is not a joke.
Directors like Karan Johar making fun of actors because they dared to stare down at him… is not a joke.
Sadly, you won’t understand this. To understand these statements, you don’t need brains.
You will need a spine.
You have lost it somewhere in New York.
Evening Update: Varun Dhawan has tweeted an apology to his fans for the act on Kangana. It was really a bold step by Varun Dhawan to admit that he was wrong. Here are his tweets below.
Update on July 19, 2017 (next day):
Karan Johar has issued an unconditional apology to Kangana Ranaut through NDTV last night. He admits that the ‘joke’ was his idea and promised that he will never attack Kangana again or speak about nepotism.
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Categories: Bollywood, Featured, View-point
Tagged as: all india bakchod, battling depression in Bollywood, bollywood roast, IIFA, IIFA awards, Indian International Film Festival, Kangana Ranaut, Kangana Ranaut controversy, Karan Johar, Koffee with Karan, New York, Saif Ali Khan, varun, Varun Dhawan
Thank you not only for a well thought out post but also for the update. I think pointing something out in an intelligent way rather than eviscerate someone on your own public platform is always the better way to go so I’m glad you weren’t goaded into something that would lower what you are about. Many publications only want to start controversy so I am glad that you posted both apologies. The joke did fail and I’m glad Karan Johar took responsibility. I can’t imagine what’s it’s like to be him living in India and all that those pressures entail. No one gets it right all the time and when you’re in the public eye making a bad call unfortunately plays out on an epic scale. I do believe his apology is sincere. Bollywood is certainly not the only industry that practices nepotism so I’d rather the totality of the issue across all platforms be debated rather than taking only one industry to account.
I understand your point about Varun , ( who in all probability was sucking up to his Godfather when he did this ) , but why have you not mentioned the very much older Saif here ? Surely a married man & father should be more responsible & not act like a 5 year old himself ?