Once mortal enemies, Karan Johar-Kangana Ranaut now pretend to be a couple on India’s Next Superstar
Kangana Ranaut shared screen space with Karan Johar for the first time in a year since the controversial Koffee With Karan episode in February 2017.
It was a moment as monumental as any in the history of Indian television but went by unnoticed. Film director Karan Johar and actor Kangana Ranaut’s names were taken together only to discuss scathing open letters or cold comments through the entirety of 2017 but on Saturday the two put all of their many differences aside to appear together on Star Plus’ new reality show, India’s Next Superstar.
Even with no film scheduled for release anytime soon, Kangana was invited as a guest judge on Karan and director Rohit Shetty’s acting talent hunt show. Karan and Rohit welcomed Kangana on the show and praised her success in the industry. “I am a fan. But unfortunately she isn’t a fan of my work,” Karan said about Kangana as she took her seat next to him. Even Kangana praised Karan in a comment. “Karan sir ke aane se glamour nai aaega toh kaise aaega (If Karan will not bring the glamour, who will?),” she said. Karan replied, “Chalo Kangana ne itna toh kehdia ki glamour aata hai mere sath. Talent aae na aae. (At least Kangana agrees that I bring glamour, if not talent.)”
Later in the episode, the trio took part in short skits in which Karan asked Kangana to pretend that Rohit was the ex lover whom she wants back in her life. Then Rohit asked Karan and Kangana to play a couple and recreate a scene from Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham.
To refresh the viewers’ memories, the episode kicked off with a prelude to the long-raging fight between the actor and the director that was sparked off in February 2017 when he invited her on his talk show, Koffee With Karan. On the show, Kangana accused Karan of being the ‘flag bearer of nepotism’ and a ‘movie mafia’.
Karan later reacted to her accusations in an interview by saying that she was playing the ‘victim card’ and ‘woman card.’ “I am done with Kangana playing the woman card and the victim card. I am done,” he had said during a session at London School of Economics. He even praised himself for ‘giving her a platform to speak’. “I was gracious enough to not cut anything and let it be that way. I could have edited it as it was my show. I cut none of it. I said, ‘No, let the world listen to her opinion and she must voice it’ I gave her the platform,” he had said.
Kangana later retaliated in an interview to Mumbai Mirror and said that she was playing the ‘badass card’. “What is this about the ‘woman card’ and the ‘victim card’? This kind of talk is demeaning to all women, particularly the vulnerable because they are the ones who really need to use them. The ‘woman card’ might not help you become a Wimbledon champ, or win you Olympic medals, or bag National awards. It might not even land you a job, but it can get a pregnant woman who feels her water is about to break a ‘ladies’ seat on a crowded bus. It can be used as a cry for help when you sense a threat. The same goes for the ‘victim card’, which women like my sister, Rangoli, who is a victim of an acid attack, can use while fighting for justice in court,” she said.
The feud did not stop there. To mock her, Karan, Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan danced to Bole Churiyan, Bole Kangana at the IIFA Awards and chanted ‘nepotism rocks,’ something for which they apologised later. Saif then wrote an open letter in DNA, attempting to advocate the glories of nepotism through examples of derby 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,” he had written.
Kangana wrote an open letter of her own, addressed to Saif in Mid-Day. “I have spent a significant part of my life studying genetics. But, I fail to understand how you can compare genetically hybrid racehorses to artistes! Are you implying that artistic skills, hard-work, experience, concentration spans, enthusiasm, eagerness, discipline and love, can be inherited through family genes? If your point was true, I would be a farmer back home,” she had written.
Kangana’s comments against nepotism and Karan’s defence of it sparked a nationwide debate on the issue. Several actors and directors were grilled about it in interviews and at media events while most star kids defended the phenomenon with examples of how even they had to struggle for opportunities.
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