Saif Ali Khan on nepotism in Bollywood: Maybe it is in Kapoor genes to become actors

Saif Ali Khan offered explanation in an interview on the joke he cracked on nepotism and Kangana Ranaut at the IIFA Awards with Karan Johar and Varun Dhawan.

bollywood Updated: Jul 20, 2017 11:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Saif Ali Khan,IIFA,Nepotism
Karan Johar and Saif Ali Khan perform on stage during the IIFA Awards of the 18th International Indian Film Academy.(AFP)

After director Karan Johar and actor Varun Dhawan’s apologies for the joke they cracked at the India International Film Academy Awards on nepotism on Saturday, Saif Ali Khan too has made clarifications on the same. The actor, however, has not apologised for their ‘nepotism rocks’ chant or bringing Kangana Ranaut in the joke.

In an interview to Elle, Saif began by saying how it was all ‘just a joke’ and nothing more should be read into it. “But now I feel had we given it more thought, we could’ve really finished this ongoing public discourse on nepotism more decisively,” he added.

Saif gave a longish explanation on how his idea of nepotism was different from Kangana’s, whom the trio mocked on stage at the event. “I understand what Kangana means by her stance on nepotism, though I have a slightly different take on it. People knew who I was because of my parents but that didn’t necessarily give me an easy ride,” he said, adding, “Look at the spate of terrible movies I’ve starred in and you know that phase lasted for a long while,” he said.

Saif Ali Khan (R) and director/producer Karan Johar host the IIFA Awards. (AFP)

“I am generally perceived as being a very privileged person and I probably am; the reality of it is also that growing up in Pataudi and Bhopal isn’t what people think it is. We are privileged also in terms of getting an opportunity to meet a producer, which in itself is an advantage. But beyond that, only your talent can sustain you,” he added.

Saif then suggested how acting might also be in a family’s genetics. “It’s easy to confuse nepotism with genetics. Maybe there is something in the genes too that makes many of Raj Kapoor’s descendants actors or Pataudis cricketers. I think it’s actually eugenics and genetics that’s coming into play,” he said.

Saif Ali Khan and Kangana Ranaut in a still from Rangoon.

The actor also said that nepotism is being confused with campism: “Whatever it may be, this privileged versus the unaffiliated leads to a great deal of unfairness. Nepotism is also not to be confused with campism. What Kangana might be talking about is that people generally promote their own people,” he said.

Karan and Saif Ali Khan, who were hosting the gala, revisited the much-talked about nepotism issue that started in Bollywood when actor Kangana Ranaut branded Karan as a “flagbearer of nepotism” on his chat show Koffee With Karan.

When Varun joined the two actors on stage at the Metlife Stadium to receive the Best Performance in a Comic Role for Dishoom, Saif joked that the actor had made it big in the industry because of his father. “You are here because of your papa,” Saif quipped. Varun said: “And you’re here because of your mummy (veteran actor Sharmila Tagore).”

Karan then promptly added: “I am here because of my papa (late filmmaker Yash Johar).” They then said in unison: “Nepotism rocks”. The trio then broke into Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham song, ‘Bole Churiyan, Bole Kangana’, to which Karan said “Kangana na hi bole toh accha hai (It’s better if Kangana doesn’t speak).”

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First Published: Jul 20, 2017 09:06 IST