Under flak for bitchy comments made by guests episode after episode, in this season of Koffee with Karan, the show's host Karan Johar, says Bollywood must just lighten up.
"I've done nothing to apologise for," says Johar in his first interview after reports that some in the industry held him responsible for stirring guests on his show into no-holds-barred criticisms of their colleagues.
"To say that I provoke guests to take potshots at each other is not true. I've always been the same and treated guests with respect," he says. The fall-outs from his show include actor Rishi Kapoor lashing out at the digs taken by actors Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor against his son, Ranbir, as well as actors taking potshots at each other over things ranging from their looks, acting ability, accents to their sex appeal Says Johar: "Guests don't cringe or feel uncomfortable while speaking to me. My association with the film industry is much stronger than any talk show. I wouldn't jeopardise relations with people I respect, just to make my show popular. The set of Koffee with Karan may have changed, I haven't."
Failing to understand what the big fuss is about, he says "I don't know why this season is being called controversial. The show's always been known for the irreverent fun, the coffee dose is not any stronger this time! What has changed is the growth of media. There are many new channels and websites, which pick up whatever stars say on the show, and make headlines."
In response to the way Gen-x stars such as Ranbir-Imran or Sonam-Deepika seemed almost prepared to give cheeky answers, he says, "The new generation is much more relaxed and confident in saying fun things about each other. They don't come with any baggage of trying to be all diplomatic. In International talk shows, celebs say all kinds of things about each other. We need to take it in the stride."
But now that comments made on his show have upset some senior actors, has he expressed regret? "I've been brought up with such values that I'd be the first one to say sorry - but if only I've made a mistake. I have utmost respect for my seniors, but had I felt I'd done something wrong, I would have picked up the phone and apologised. But I've done no wrong, so I'll just let time heal the situation," he says.
Lamenting the general lack of a sense of humour, he adds, "I fail to understand why we take offence so easily. Watch the promos of the episode where Anil Kapoor is asked to name the most shocking hit of the year. He said My name is Khan, and even I laughed. When I can laugh at myself, why can't people do the same, or learn to deal with what someone has said on the show. Where is our sense of humour?"
Episode 2: Ranbir Kapoor-Imran Khan
Both Ranbir and Imran ranked actor Sonam Kapoor the lowest in sex appeal. Imran had this advice to give to Sonam, "Focus less on doing magazine covers and more on your films." Sonam replied in an interview, "He's not that experienced yet that he can give me advice on things."
Episode 3: Sonam Kapoor-Deepika Padukone
Deepika Paduokone's comment that she would gift 'condoms' to her ex-beau Ranbir Kapoor, and Sonam Kapoor wondering how Deepika put up with him for so long made Ranbir's dad, Rishi Kapoor, furious. "It's a case of sour grapes for both girls," he said in an interview.
Episode 5: Kareena kapoor-Saif Ali Khan
When asked what she would like to ask co-actor Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor said, "Where did she get her accent from?" Priyanka retorts, in the episode to be aired next week, "The same place where Kareena's boyfriend (Saif Ali Khan) got his accent from".
Episode 6: Anil Kapoor-Sanjay Dutt
When Karan asked actor Anil Kapoor to name an actor whose botox has gone horribly wrong, Kapoor instantly replied, 'Shilpa Shetty'. He went on to explain how a nose and lips job by Shetty had gone wrong and she stalled the shoot of a film. The episode goes on air tonight.