By Minerwa Tahir
To be born with privilege is one thing. To actually go on to humiliate others and refuse to acknowledge your privilege is a different thing altogether. Karan Johar, Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan pretty much ganged up against Kangana Ranaut to do exactly that.
In the name of humour, the three men made their best attempts at the IIFA Awards in New Jersey to trivialize the Bollywood nepotism debate and belittle Kangana.
Karan, son of producer Yash Johar, and Saif, son of actress Sharmila Tagore, co-hosted the IIFA Awards, where Varun, son of director David Dhawan, won Best Actor In A Comic Role for his work in Dishoom. As Varun joined Karan and Saif onstage to collect his award, Saif – who is Kangana’s co-star from Rangoon – referenced the debate that caused such turmoil in Bollywood earlier this year.
“You are here because of your Papa,” Saif said to Varun. Varun responded, “And you’re here because of your mummy.” Karan added, “I am here because of my Papa.” The trio then chanted in unison: “Nepotism rocks.”
Kangana did not attend the IIFA Awards. And Twitterati were not amused at this distasteful attempt at humour. A flood of criticism was unleashed, with Twitter users describing what the three men said as unfunny and calling them out for joking about Kangana in her absence.
I’d like to see the likes of Karan Johar, Saif & Varun Dhawan try their Nepotism humor when Kangana is in their presence. #IIFA
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) July 17, 2017
I don’t know what kind of entitlement you need to actually find ‘nepotism rocks’ funny. Like yeah it did for you and that makes you a loser.
— Floof. (@meownologue) July 17, 2017
@Varun_dvn ..am ur ardent fan😊 n I believe there nothing wrong in Nepotism but attacking a girl on stage by her name -Not acceptable I feel
— Monalisa (@Finallyfoundme) July 17, 2017
Three overgrown children got on stage at #IIFA2017 and hollered “nepotism rocks”. Real mature. Mantastic.
— Coconut Kanmani (@HazeedaVijay) July 17, 2017
Some Indian get offended if someone put Dog filter with their Modiji’s photo but no outrage when three douchebags make fun of Kangana Ranaut
— ㅤ (@AbbeyOyeNatasha) July 16, 2017
To be honest Bolly doesn’t deserve Kangana. Let them drown in their own mediocrity. Making fun of her in front of so many ppl is hella low.
— Personalthoughts (@theClaiire) July 16, 2017
How is it an “insult” to Kangana? If anything it’s a crass/tacky display of how shamelessly nepotistic Bollywood IS https://t.co/qmqTHjZ2aH
— Aditi (@awryaditi) July 17, 2017
— Priyanka (@autumnrainwish) July 17, 2017
— Aadit Kapadia (@ask0704) July 17, 2017
More power to you Kangana.. Keep on making immature lads like Karan burn in its own ego. NEVER let the FIRE down pic.twitter.com/naoZvEIMjf
— BeingBored (@vedant123) July 16, 2017
Funny how the B’wood estab. has not gotten over that one remark by Kangana https://t.co/0TWZihcKUr
— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) July 17, 2017
“Nepotism rocks.” GTFOH. @ Karan Johar enjoy this video of Kangana talking about nepotism back in 2010 when she was still a nobody to you. pic.twitter.com/GtfdI365EK
— Sidd (@siddanthdaily) July 16, 2017
Even the lack of responsibility by press to talk about it like an actual issue & not smthng that only Kangana has a problem w/ is disturbing
— Aditi (@awryaditi) July 17, 2017
— Dr Shobha (@DrShobha) July 17, 2017
I’m not even mad to be honest. Kangana will forever be known as the woman who started a revolution. A new era! When will Karan Johar EVER?
— 丂卂ㄥ (@ohheysalman) July 16, 2017
Karan Johar doesnt seem to get over Kangana. Its very seldom that you can bully a smart ,worthy woman who knows her walk #KanganaRanaut
— Ruchi Kashyap (@candid_musings) July 17, 2017
On Koffee with Karan earlier this year, Kangana said Karan was ‘intolerant’ towards outsiders and a ‘flag-bearer of nepotism’. As a result, the two exchanged remarks about each other via interviews to different media outlets.
A few weeks later, Karan said he was done with Kangana playing the ‘woman and victim card’. Kangana responded by saying that she uses ‘every card possible’. “At the workplace, it’s the badass card to fight cutthroat competition,” she said. “With my family and loved ones, it’s the love card. When fighting the world, it’s the dignity card, and for a seat in a bus, it’s the woman card.”
She further went on to ask why Karan was ‘trying to shame a woman for being a woman’. “This kind of talk is demeaning to all women,” she said. “I can’t speak for Karan Johar’s understanding of nepotism. If he thinks that it is restricted to nephews, daughters and cousins, I have nothing to say. But, to say that he chose not to give me work is to mock an artiste. His memory appears to be poor because we worked together in a movie (Ungli), which was produced by him. And quickly realised our sensibilities did not match.”
Karan finally wrote a column, in which he admitted that ‘nepotism is a reality’ and that ‘it exists’. “Nepotism is a result of easy access to an exceptional resource,” he conceded. “I acknowledge that my father was a producer and that made my first film, even the idea of it, possible. But let’s also not forget that I started as the son of a producer with five failures behind him.”
Let’s wait for Kangana’s response to ‘nepotism rocks’ now.
Story first published: 17th July 2017