Updated: July 19, 2017 4:43:47 pm
These days, I often have this overwhelming urge to sit some people down and coach them in basic etiquette and maybe give them a rap on the knuckles. That includes ‘gau-rakshaks’ on steroids, trolls and yes, Karan Johar and Bollywood at large. It’s become a trend to impose a majority mindset on everybody around and, in fact, even expect people to fall in line. As we saw at IIFA, where the class bully got his cronies to pull down somebody who wasn’t present in the audience.
What do you do with a problem like Karan Johar? Since he doesn’t allow us to ignore him, here it is. As Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted, would the trio of KJo, Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan have had the courage to scream “Nepotism rocks’’ and take direct digs at Kangana Ranaut, an actor of great calibre, if she was in the audience? When Kangana called the filmmaker a flag-bearer of nepotism, it was upfront on his show, at which point the host made gracious noises. But, months later, he continues to attack her on public forums. I would so much like to banish Karan Johar to the corner of the classroom, fingers on his lips, to think seriously about what he’s done. A public persona comes with a lot of responsibility and it’s not good enough to revel in projecting an image of a gossipy, vindictive human being. So, take a break from public appearances for a few months or a year and come back when your foot knows how to stay out of your mouth. Maybe Mummy can help with some advice!
While Bollywood’s Mummys and Papas have brats to deal with, even though some may be happily middle-aged and Papas to grown-up kids, like Saif Ali Khan, who has also co-starred with Kangana, the silence from the industry is deafening. And it’s not just the so-called brats. What about the others who have made it big on their own steam, beating down competition from star kids? Shouldn’t they also stand against the bullying, which is really what it was, on a very public platform like IIFA? Isn’t it time it wasn’t just Kangana who was the flag-bearer of anti-nepotism?
The nepotism debate is very simple. Let’s take the English-speaking population of the country; while for some it’s like a first language, having learnt it at public schools or due to a convent education, others have taught themselves the language despite having studied in regional language schools. Doesn’t the latter’s achievement count for more? Or are we going to say that grammar and syntax are tough for everyone, you know! A little acknowledgement goes a long way.
The majoritarian mindset is everywhere. Recently, irate fans demanded to be refunded for tickets to AR Rahman’s concert at Wembley in London, simply because he sang several Tamil songs along, along with Hindi ones, despite the show being titled ‘Netru, Indru, Naalai’. Thankfully, the entitled behaviour was slammed by musicians Vishal Dadlani, Shaan and others.
It’s time we shed our narrow thinking and saw things from an inclusive prism that has a place for everyone—strugglers, achievers and those somewhere in the middle.
(The writer is an editorial consultant and co-founder of The Goodwill Project. She tweets @anuvee. Views expressed are personal.)
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