Karan Johar is anything but gracious in his public attack on Kangana Ranaut

Karishma Upadhyay

Mar,06 2017 18:47 36 IST

If you thought Karan Johar would let Kangana Ranaut get away with calling him the "flag-bearer of nepotism" on his own show, you couldn’t be more wrong! At the LSE SU India Forum over the weekend in London, the Ae Dil Hai Mukhil director minced no words while talking about the episode of Koffee With Karan with Rangoon stars Kangana and Saif Ali Khan.

Karan Johar faced an onslaught of bullying for not saying the "three little words" that everyone seems to want to hear. AFP/File photo

Karan Johar. File Photo/ANI

In a rant that continued for over two minutes, Karan says, “She was my guest and I had to hear what she had to say. She has a right to have an opinion. When she says ‘flag-bearer of nepotism’, I just want to say her, I am glad she knows what it all means. I don’t think she has understood the entire meaning of the term. What is nepotism… am I working with my nieces, nephews, daughters, cousins? And what about those 15 filmmakers, who are not from the film industry, who I have launched and who did the movies. That we’re not going to talk about! Tarun Mansukhani, Puneet Malhotra, Shakun Batra, Shashank Khaitan… they all come from no film background. You give these people film careers and they have a platform to stand on and that’s the reverse of nepotism.”

Karan goes on to say that he was ‘gracious enough to” not edit things that Kangana said on the show. “I appreciate that she had a great perspective and point of view and everyone lauded her because she came on my show and ‘gave it off to Karan’ according to what everyone said. I cut none of it. I could have edited so much out because its my show. But I said, let the world see that this is her opinion. I gave her the platform.”

For Karan to say that he gave Kangana the platform to air her grievances reeks of patriarchy and condescension. Heaven forbid if a strong independent woman doesn’t toe the line! She doesn’t need his ‘platform’ to make her voice heard. Kangana is a three-time National Award-winning actress who has helmed films that have made crores at the box-office.

In the rapid fire round of Koffee with Karan, Kangana had pointed at Karan as the celebrity who gave her ‘the most unnecessary attitude’. “In my biopic, if ever it’s made, you will play the stereotypical Bollywood biggie, who is snooty and completely intolerant to outsider. A flag-bearer of nepostim. The movie mafia.” Karan went on to make a sweeping apology and gave Kangana the much-coveted hamper to sweeten the apology.

But clearly, that apology meant nothing. At LSE, Karan lashed out, “What does she mean by movie mafia? Does it mean that we don’t give her work? No, we do that by choice. I am done with Kangana playing the woman and victim card. I am DONE! You cannot be this victim at every given point of time who has a sad story to tell about how you’ve been terrorised by the bad world of the industry… leave it.” Interestingly, during this rant Karan seems to have forgotten that Kangana starred in Renzil D’Silva's Ungli that was produced by his Dharma productions.

Instead of hitting out at Kangana for being candid on his show, Karan should be thanking her for making Koffee With Karan relevant again. In its fifth season, the show had lost its mojo. What made Koffee With Karan a guilty pleasure was watching Bollywood stars throw shade at each other. Who can forget the episode when Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor ganged up against Ranbir Kapoor. Or when Kareena Kapoor wondered where Priyanka Chopra gets her accent. This season, the snark quotient on the chat show was at an all-time low. Koffee With Karan has turned into yet other publicity vehicle for actors to hawk their latest release.

Kangana and her candor made the show fun again. And, Karan knew that during the taping. At one point in the episode, Karan said, “Kangana has really attacked me on this show and I love that darling”. I wonder what changed his mind and prompted this very public attack from the ‘gracious’ Karan Johar? Maybe he couldn’t handle everyone saying that Kangana ‘gave it off to Karan’.