Karan Johar proved his patriotism last night. Shouldn’t MNS do the same?

What did Karan Johar apologise for in that video? For casting a Pakistani actor in his film when circumstances between two countries were normal? Or for having no opinion on the political atmosphere in the country? Or for being a filmmaker? Or for being just talented?

Written by Dipti Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: October 19, 2016 6:57 pm
Karan Johar, Karan Johar video msg, Karan Johar film, Karan Johar ADHM ban, ae dil hai mushkil, Karan Johar ae dil hai mushkil, ae dil hai mushkil movie Karan Johar is like any other entrepreneur who just happened to use a product from Pakistan when circumstances were normal.

It didn’t look like an official statement. It seemed as if Karan Johar was coerced into accepting that he is not an anti-national. He had to prove his patriotism through this rather humiliating video.

Karan Johar never looked so compliant as he did in that two-minute video. I felt a little discomfited watching Karan Johar saying those lines in a well-rehearsed manner, a departure from his personality.

What is Karan Johar’s fault?


Johar is a filmmaker. He is into filmmaking business that goes beyond just profit-making. Films make an emotional connect with people. Why target only films? Because films have an ability to influence people (and potential vote bank) in a gigantic way.

There hasn’t been a single statement or a stand from the ruling government regarding revoking visas of Pakistani artistes working in Bollywood. “There is no proposal to revoke the visa granted to Pakistani artistes working in India,” a senior home ministry official said a few days ago. There has also been no official announcement of suspending all cultural ties between India and Pakistan.

So why is a small political party that doesn’t even have a single elected Member of Parliament create such a ruckus? All this brouhaha about banning Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is coming from a party whose candidates forfeited their deposits on 203 out of the 288 seats in Maharashtra in the 2014 Assembly elections.

Even if we assume for a while that the MNS is really concerned, why doesn’t it infuse the same anger and retaliation into other issues? Mumbai turns into an open swimming pool during monsoons. Marathwada faced a severe drought this year. People from Marathwada region migrated to cities like Mumbai and Pune. Why didn’t MNS come out on roads to protest against these sensitive issues which affect people much more than a Fawad Khan film?

By the way, BMC’s elections are scheduled for February 2017.

Let’s leave aside the fact that Karan Johar is a creative person. Karan Johar is like any other entrepreneur who just happened to use a product from Pakistan when circumstances were normal. Just like retailers and wholesalers who are using made-in-China products. By the same logic, MNS should also vandalise shops of these retailers when there is a call for boycotting China products.

But films are an easy target. Aren’t they?

It is neither the first nor last time that our political leaders have succeeded in deviating our attention from ‘real’ issues and questions. That is not the point, though. The point is how easily they can do it to us every single time by targeting ‘art’. And how generously we allow them to do this to us.

We have made the likes of Karan Johar and Fawad Khan scapegoats for giving a very shallow, general solution to a complex problem. And that solution is boycott Pakistani actors and films, ban Indian films featuring Pakistani actors.

Pakistani film ‘Jago Hua Savera’ was dropped from MAMI festival. But what did it achieve at the end of the day? Once again we have allowed our leaders to escape from the responsibility by targeting ‘art’.

Even before the Uri attack, India and Pakistan had suspended cricket matches for some years now (even as hockey matches between two countries were going on). That didn’t, however, stop a Pathankot attack.

Art is a reflection of a country’s society. It gives one a glimpse into the creative freedom that an artiste enjoys in the country. The same goes for innovators and entrepreneurs.

Also read | Karan Johar budges under pressure over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil controversy

And Karan Johar seems such a nice, ‘perfect’ target. Karan is one rich celebrity who judges dance reality shows to earn money. He talks about love, loneliness and even depression. Karan Johar has no political affiliation. He doesn’t seem to have an opinion on political matters either.

Karan Johar just happens to be a normal citizen who is busy earning his livelihood like any one of us.

Sample this: Apple CEO Tim Cook defied a court order in the aftermath of a terrorist shooting in California, US. FBI wanted to see the data on the iPhone of one of the attackers but couldn’t get past Apple’s security features. So court asked Apple to create a software that would enable FBI to access the data. However, Cook refused, saying he is protecting Apple customers from hackers.

This is not to say that Karan Johar is Tim Cook, but to stress the difference in democratic rights that one enjoys in two different countries. While Cook decided to not cooperate with FBI in providing data of Apple customers seeking privacy concern as one of the reasons, we saw Karan Johar bowing down to political pressure. We are living in a time when having an opinion at once categorises one into having a – liberal, conservative, left-wing, right-wing, anti-national or nationalist influence or affiliation. Who cares about logic and reasons anyways?


Because it is easy to write 140 characters and prove one’s patriotism. Bashing people for having a different point of view has become fashionable.

Karan Johar is an influential entity in our society today. People love watching his movies and talk shows. At 44, he has managed to stay relevant. He also symbolises a free-spirited creative endeavour, something which New India could relate to.

What did he apologise for in that video? For making films, for casting a Pakistani actor in his film when circumstances between two countries were normal? By the same logic, our leaders should also prove their patriotism by apologising for a whole lot of scams, corruption, fake promises of bringing back black money and many other things.

Or was he apologising for being an ordinary citizen, doing ordinary stuff and having no opinion on the political atmosphere in the country? Or for being a filmmaker? Or for being just talented?

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  1. r
    Oct 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm
    Beautifully written
    1. D
      Oct 21, 2016 at 2:01 am
      We must teach these producers lesson by not watching films made by them . we should encourage pro indian actors like Akshay and ajay devgun.
      1. W
        Who is
        Oct 21, 2016 at 5:10 am
        Dude speak for your self. Don't drag other into your agenda
        1. j
          Oct 19, 2016 at 1:03 pm
          !Karan is not patriot he is businessmen does what is best for him to make money he is anti national pro stani
          1. L
            Oct 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm
            Ms Dipti are you got paid by our talented Mr Johar for making him hero. Forget about MNS its aam junta don't want to see him taking any outside heroes it was boiling within all Indians after many years we gone through it is coming out now, we junta wanted to give message to all Bollywood guys if you take any artist from Pak they will have same fate as they never understood meaning of friendship, and for your knowledge issue between two country is from past 65 years, did u forget about and 71 war, Kargil, Mumbai attacks, many other attacks they did, Uri attack but it was way before, it's our duty if given democracy doesn't mean take advantage, and hire anybody. U can't compare Uri attack with TIm cook example they are not facing burning issue, ask those soldier and people who lost their loved once in attack. This boycott is not against karan but to all those guys who considered aam junta seriously.
            1. N
              Oct 31, 2016 at 11:59 am
              During the Surgical Strike was made, even the villagers alongside the boarder stood with Indian army saying, they don't know to fire a gun but they will help with their conventional arms. Then, why can't be stand by just the name of India. Enough is enough.
              1. N
                Oct 31, 2016 at 11:53 am
                Its time to follow Israel, just retaliate. Brotherhood under the shed of terror is acceptable for cowards only. India has avoided the acts of stan for all 70 years. We had PMs who stood silent as if retaliation would have worsened the situation. But this time, we have Modi, who speaks about the ID of India. Its high time to pay stan back with all its terror deeds.
                1. R
                  Rashmi J
                  Oct 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm
                  Karan Johar and talented. You got to be smoking pot. Just because somebody is making films does not make them talented and bollywood does not consute talent in this country. It is a cess pool of so called artists who are there because they could not have done anything else and gotten away with it. Karan Johar's reaction after the Uri attacks proved where his loyalties lie. No sympathies for clowns who put the country last.
                  1. C
                    Oct 19, 2016 at 6:20 pm
                    Its money which is making him speak this way.dian Express low level of reporting this time..its high time u bear with such reporters...being a responsible press we expect more from you...the article suits more for a Bgrade newspaper...!
                    1. S
                      Oct 20, 2016 at 4:10 am
                      while displaying the film he should put a banner inside the film saying all cast / producers / actors of the film are against the Uri and other terror attacks on Indian soil and and denounce cross border state terrorism ( esp when pak actors are shown on screen ), then there should be no problem to display the film
                      1. S
                        Oct 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm
                        Karan is scared that he will loose money and that is why he is faking patriotism. Tension between the two countries were always high but he cares only about making money.
                        1. S
                          Oct 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm
                          I think that we are leaving aside a very bigger and broader perspective in this particular case. Its not about that one stani actor or exchanging cultural ties in any form, it is about sending a stringent message to stan and the world community that enough is enough, 70 years on and we have tried our best to maintain peace by allowing all the cultural exchanges and playing sports, even our top most leaders have acted out of their chin to establish tranquility in both the countries, but now after the Uri attacks, lines have been crossed and it is not business as usual anymore. The short term isolation of stan is very imperative both nationally and internationally and India should stand united on this issue, all the fraternities should come out with the same voice of isolating stan in every possible way. We all know that cultural ties and people to people contact is the way forward in the near future but for the time being let their be total and complete isolation of stan. People will themselves realize in stan that due to the wrongdoings of their establishments, they are personally suffering economically or socially, maybe this strong message to them would make them realize that India is right in what it is doing and we should raise voice against our establishments for indulging in cross border terror activities. Maybe this could work in India's favor. All our governments have left no stone unturned to improve the situation, so why not try out this option also, what harm it would do if we could garner some positive results out of it. United we stand, divided we fall.
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