The self-contained world of Bollywood has rarely seen the kind of open confrontation that erupted recently when Ajay Devgn accused Karan Johar of paying self-styled critic Kamaal R Khan to promote Ae Dil Hai Mushkil on social media and to criticise Ajay's film Shivaay.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay are releasing on the same date (28 October) at the box office.
Firstpost had published extensive reports on the controversy as it unfolded:
We reported how there was a lot of bad blood between the two films that seemed to have come out in a mud-slinging Twitter campaign.
Them there was Ajay's open statement about wanting an investigation into whether or not Karan had indeed paid KRK to promote ADHM even as he pulled down Shivaay. To buttress his claim, Ajay released an audio recording of a conversation between his business associate Kumar Mangat and KRK, in which the latter 'confesses' that he was paid Rs 25 lakh to do so.
However, throughout the pandemonium and speculation that ensued, Karan Johar didn't issue any comments on the matter.
When he was asked a direct question about his involvement in the KRK-Devgn controversy at an event convened by The Indian Express, Karan simply said: "My self-respect, reputation, company reputation and my upbringing doesn’t allow me to dignify this question with a response."
In the meantime, Ajay too seems to have taken a step back from his earlier directly accusatory statement:
"We have only made you aware of what KRK has said. He is contradicting himself in explanations about what he has said in the recording and what we all have just heard in his postured press conference. He has not denied that it was his voice in the recording and he is now making excuses and contradicting himself. Where is the sanity here? You have heard what I have heard. It is up to you all to decide. It's his word against his own word,”Ajay was quoted as saying in this report.