Karan Johar, why blame Kangana Ranaut? Haven't you also played the 'victim card' often?

Harish Iyer

Mar 07, 2017 12:15:09 IST

Dear Karan Johar,

This is going to be long and sour. Hope you read it.

It is no secret that I am fond of you. I have always stood up for you when you were right and have championed you for your life decisions — whether it was to come out as gay and retaining the right to not spelling it out in those many words, or whether it was about you becoming a parent to two kids through the medium of surrogacy. I admire you and I adore you for that. I always tried to seek the real person that you are. And you were very beautiful in the above two circumstances that you shared. I have admired you for being true to yourself.  I have to tell you, in the same vein, that kindness and truthfulness are difficult qualities to keep in a world that wants you to lie and  fake it till you make it. And that’s the quality of a true star. A star like Kangana Ranaut. She doesn’t need to play the 'victim card' because she is not a victim. You don’t become a victim if you state facts and call people out for their bigotry. You don’t play victim if you stand there naked and bare and don’t give in to the demands. She has never seen a reason to apologise.

Read — Karan Johar, not 'an unsuitable boy': Your life story makes you relatable, you are one of us

I stood up for you when you were “victimised” into issuing an apology for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil for casting a Pakistan-born actor. You were the one who was victim enough during your pet project with Ayan Mukerji called Wake Up Sid, when the same Raj Thackrey threatened you for using the word "Bombay". I stood for you when people said, 'He has the world at his feet and faces no trauma' — almost making an assumption that the rich and famous don’t have a heart.

 Karan Johar, why blame Kangana Ranaut? Havent you also played the victim card often?

Karan Johar, if you retained the portions of your show where Kangana Ranaut spoke out against you, well, that's what decent talk show hosts do.

Therefore, I found your reactions — the complete lack of any empathy — very disturbing. And remember My Name Is Khan? How you apologised to the Shiv Sena? Well, that film was a flop. The little business it did was because of the controversy. It was one of your shoddiest films ever. As an audience member who is privy to firsthand cinema gossip, I can tell you that many have been thinking that it is some sort of a strategy to promote your films. I don’t blame them. We see a pattern. And over the years, despite all the money and given the pedigree cinema family genes, you haven’t been able to devise a strategy minus an apology. That’s what people call  being a victim. I empathise with you.

I stood with your vulnerability, when you decided to not spell out your eternal truth, your sexuality to the world. I protected your right to have your coming out the way you want it even when most in the LGBT world stood against you. Since you brought it up, this what is called being a victim, though I stood for your right to your fears.

I stand for Kangana's bravery now.

On Firstpost: Dear Karan Johar, living your life unabashedly is the truest form of activism

She stood up to the bigwigs of cinema, with their pedigrees, even as an outsider. She dared to run the risk of losing out on work with big banners. She has lost a lot because of refusing to endorse fairness creams. She braved it. She stood her ground. About nepotism, well, all the “outsiders” were insiders from your circle. They all were your assistant directors. When it comes to actors, you have one successful name (who is an 'outsider') — Sidharth Malhotra. Who else?  Well, you have the right to cast whoever you want in your films. You have the money, you have the right. Film making is not like democracy. You are entitled to your right of making your kind of films and casting your kind of actors. You could, however, have been more dignified in your comments.  You made fun of her understanding of English. Why don’t you try speaking Haryanvi like she does, or for that matter, your parental tongue, Sindhi?  And about her understanding of nepotism, well, how many of the non-cinema hoity-toity, regional tongued, dark and young, non perfume-breasted, non-attitude crested people have you cast in your film? They all come from a certain prototype. Don’t they? And Karan, why don’t you just type “define nepotism” on your Google search bar? You will realise that the definition of nepotism extends from family and blood relatives to favouring friends and that can be extended to the circle/the clan/community prototype that one favours.

You mentioned that you retained all parts of the show that had Kangana as if you did her a favour. Well, that’s what decent talk show hosts do. Thank you for standing up for the values of talk show hosts. But no thanks, when you make it sound like some sort of a favour. You also mentioned that you sat quiet during your show as a sign of respect for your guests. That’s a lie. You sat quiet because she had a comeback to everything you said. You couldn’t speak because she sat upright, with attitude on her face, and refused to budge or laugh when you joked. She went through your shows as an ardent fan would and pointed out that you had made fun of her English. And in your retort, at the London School of Economics, you made the same folly — you made fun of her English.

I value Kangana for what she is. You don’t need to say she's playing the 'woman card'. Woman card? Gender is a biological accident, Karan. If you are so confident that she is using the woman card, kindly be brave enough to tell us how much your actors get paid, in comparison to your actresses?

Kangana is 100 percent authentic. To accept you are vulnerable at times is the bravest act I have seen. To accept that she has been silly in love, is the bravest she could get.  That’s why she is who she is. You couldn’t match up to her. No one could. She is the living example of the Michelle Obama quote — “When they go low, we go high”.  You couldn’t match her even with all your wit. Neither on your show, nor here at LSE.

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

Yesterday, you had no one watching you. Today, your daughter Roohi is watching. Watch your words when you bully women who speak in a vernacular tongue, not-so-privileged people and women who stand up for equality. Roohi will have the same struggles. Parents are always expected to meet the expectations of their children, Karan. Any father would love to bring up a child like Kangana. Hope Roohi grows up to be like Kangana and fights vociferously for the rights of her father’s sexuality, her authenticity — just as Kangana is fighting for her own real space in a prejudiced world. Hope your kids,  little Roohi and Yash see you are the brightest example of someone who stands up even for people who stand against you, people who dare to slam you to your face, on your couch and in your space, fearlessly and unapologetically… because you  care for them and you f**king care for free speech.

I adore you Karan, but in this case, there's no love lost between us. I still care for you when I care for you. But no, I am not blinded by you.

Your friend,

Harish Iyer.

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Updated Date: Mar 07, 2017 15:06:16 IST