“‘Nepotism Rocks’ was a joke on stage. I apologised to Kangana, so I don’t owe anybody else an explanation” – It seems that Saif Ali Khan is really apologetic about all the ‘Nepotism rocks’ brouhaha which happened during the recently held 18th International Indian Film Academy Awards ceremony, in New York. At the IIFA 2017 stage Saif had made a comment on nepotism with Karan Johar and Varan Dhawan, which soon hit headlines. While Saif accepted that the whole discussion might have offended Kangana Ranaut at some point, he mentioned in his letter to ‘Whomsoever it may concern’ that he called her up and apologised personally. The actor also mentioned that it was not supposed to be a big deal and everybody needs to take chill and back off.
DNA is carrying an open letter, penned down by Saif Ali Khan himself. The letter starts as, “To whomsoever it may concern,” and it proves that he is well aware of the controversy his comments stirred up. “Over the last few days, a lot has been said and written about the skit on the IIFA stage by Karan Johar, Varun Dhawan and yours truly. Let’s first see what happened here. “Nepotism Rocks” was a joke on stage. It’s not something that I wrote or something I believe in. It was a joke on ourselves, between Varun (Dhawan), Karan (Johar) and me. It was not supposed to be a big deal, but I realised at some point, that it might have offended Kangana (Ranaut). I called her and apologised personally. That should be the end of it. Everybody needs to take a chill pill and back off.”
In the same letter, the actor also confessed the main reason why he doesn’t want to be on any social media platform and said, “It feels fake.” Saif wrote, “However, in today’s world, apologies are made through Twitter or though some other social media platform. That, is basically apologising to your fans and the world in general, instead of apologising to the person concerned, because you don’t want to lose support. These are the times we live in. We wish each other happy birthday or offer condolences on social media. This is another reason I don’t want to be on any social media platform — it feels fake. As far as the issue of saying something stupid on stage goes, I’m sure it’s not the first or the last time I’m going to say something stupid in an attempt to be funny. And I apologised to Kangana, so I don’t owe anybody else an explanation. The issue is over.”
Saif also wrote about the negative stories published about the issue. “What I can’t seem to understand are some of the media reactions to this. While most people have been sensible, three reporters from the websites BollywoodLife, The Quint and Elle India, made a point of saying that all I did was use big words like eugenics and genetics. I think it’s extremely relevant in a conversation on nepotism, which means family favouritism, to talk about genetics and eugenics.”
Saif added, “Because people are interested in what their children will be like and whether they will have the genes of their parents, in terms of their talent. If you need another example, then take race horses. We take a derby winner, mate him with the right mate and see if we can create another grand national winner. So, in that sense, this is the relationship between genetics and star kids. Hope that’s clear? As for the girl from Elle: I’m sorry you found words like eugenics in a conversation about nepotism misplaced. Perhaps if you got your head out of the hemline of the actress of the month and read a book, your vocabulary might improve.”
Well, for Saif the ‘real flagbearer of nepotism’ is ‘the media.’ “The real flagbearer of nepotism, I’d say is the media. Look at how they treat Taimur, Shahid’s daughter Misha or even Shah Rukh’s son AbRam. They photograph them and hype them up to be the next big thing and the child has no choice. From a young age they have to deal with being celebrities, which they don’t really deserve, before they can even speak or talk, leave alone understand what is happening, ” wrote Saif.
He also explained what nepotism is as per his understanding. Saif wrote, “So, what is nepotism? I think nepotism means when you give somebody from your family a job that somebody else is better suited for. But, is that what happens in movies? Is that what people mean when they say that there is lot of nepotism in film industry? I think perhaps what Kangana means (and again I’m only assuming here) by nepotism is that people from Dharma or Yashraj are against people like her, who have come up the hard way without their support and that they only support their own people. Whether that is true or not I have no idea and it’s none of my business.”
Saif added, “Nepotism is Donald Trump putting his daughter in the White House rather than someone who is better qualified. Actors are the soft targets. So if you say star kids have an advantage, of course, they do. It’s an advantage created by the press because people are interested in them.”
Saif also mentioned about his kids, Taimur Ali Khan, Sara Ali Khan and Ibrahim Khan. He said, “There is a curiosity to see Taimur, Sara or Ibrahim. It’s supply and demand. People want it, media serves it. So we’re all part of the same vicious circle in that sense.”
Saif also said that everyone knows this is the only industry where a spotboy can become a superstar. He also mentioned about the stars who are from a ‘total non-filmi background’. “Take Shah Rukh Khan, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Jackie Shroff… it’s an endless list.”
Saif mentioned Arjun Kapoor’s example of nepotism. He wrote, “And to the idiot who gave the example of Arjun Kapoor for nepotism, I would just like to say that every film he has done, has worked. He should be an inspiration as an unlikely hero, not pulled down for nepotism. And that is the reason he is here. Not because of his father or uncle. It’s the audience that makes a film a hit, not the family members, otherwise all kinds of people would be ruling the roost.”
Will Saif’s apology and clarification bring a closure to this entire nepotism debate? We need to wait and watch.