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Saif Ali Khan writes open letter on nepotism debate: I called Kangana and apologised

Saif Ali Khan, in an open letter published Friday, wrote that he had personally called and apologised to Kangana Ranaut after his comments on nepotism attracted backlash.

bollywood Updated: Jul 21, 2017 08:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Saif Ali Khan,Kangana Ranaut,Nepotism
Actor Saif Ali Khan during a press conference regarding upcoming IIFA Awards in Mumbai.(IANS)

In an open letter published Friday, Saif Ali Khan, in response to the backlash he faced after jokingly taking a dig at Kangana Ranaut, wrote that he had “apologised” to her, and he doesn’t “owe anybody else an explanation. The issue is over.”

Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan (R) and director/producer Karan Johar perform on stage during the IIFA Awards of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (AFP)

In the letter, published on DNA, Saif goes on to say that the comments he made on nepotism with Karan Johar and Varan Dhawan were a joke. “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,” he wrote.

But he is aware of the controversy his comments stirred up. Nepotism has always been a hot topic in Bollywood, and when three industry bigwigs yelled “nepotism rocks” in front of thousands of fans at the 2017 IIFA Awards, they were slammed in the press. Saif 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,” he wrote, referring to a comment he made about how it is possible that members of the Kapoor family join the film business because it is in their genes.

Actors Varun Dhawan, Saif Ali Khan and filmmaker Karan Johar during the press conference of 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Mumbai. (IANS)

He then proceeded to attack the journalist who wrote the article in Elle. “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.”

The “flagbearer of nepotism,” he said, making a reference to the words Kangana used to describe Karan Johar on an episode of his talk show on which Saif was present, “is the media.”

“Nepotism is probably least prevalent in the movie industry and rampant in politics and business,” he wrote, speculating that perhaps what Kangana means when she accuses the industry of 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,” he conceded.

“Nepotism cannot work in the film industry because it is a democracy. The film industry is the most fair line of work. So yes, maybe I got a chance because of my mother, but that is more genetics than nepotism. It’s a genetic investment that the producer was making,” he wrote.

Saif also said that “for every star kid, there are many guys and girls from total non-filmi backgrounds. Take Shah Rukh Khan, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Jackie Shroff.”

“It’s the audience that makes a film a hit,” he wrote, and “not the family members.”

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First Published: Jul 21, 2017 08:36 IST