Free Press Journal

What does Kangana’s comment on KJO as the ‘Flagbearer of Nepotism’ exactly mean, and, what’s the fuss all about?

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Kangana Ranaut

Kangana Ranaut is inarguably one of the feistiest and outspoken actresses Bollywood today has. The actress recently made headlines for her bold statement when she along with her Rangoon co-star Saif Ali Khan appeared on one of the episodes of ‘Koffee with Karan’. In the aforesaid episode the actress took everyone by a surprise when she called Johar the ‘flag bearer of nepotism’. She further said that that if there was ever a biopic made on her life she would pick him for the role of a stereotypical Bollywood biggie, who is both snooty and completely intolerant to outsiders. She even called him ‘movie mafia’.

Kangana_Saif_Koffee with Karan

So what does ‘Flagbearer of Nepotism’ means? ‘Flagbearer is ‘one who openly promotes an idea or value and becomes symbolic for it’. While Nepotism means ‘the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them work’. What Kangana meant was Mr Johar is biased towards launching and working with star kids, at the cost of outsiders, who may have more talent.


Though the filmmaker kept mum on the show, it seems that Johar has finally reacted to the allegations made against him by Ms Ranaut. During an interaction at the London School of Economics, he lashed out at the actress for ‘playing the victim card’ at all times. Reacting to his statement, Kangana replied that she was playing the ‘badass’ card.

Karan was also seen commenting, “If you are so terrorised by the industry, leave it.” Well, Karan’s this statement doesn’t make him a ‘movie mafia’ like Kangana said?

The forgotten ‘Ungli’

Though the actress claims that Johar is the ‘Flagbearer of Nepotism’, it seems that the actress has completely forgotten about her 2014 film ‘Ungli’, produced by Karan Johar under Dharma Productions. Despite of being in the lead role, Kangana refused to promote the film, making her an ‘unprofessional’ sort of actor.

B-towners’ take on ‘nepotism’

Flagbearer of Nepotism

Being an outsider in B-town, Anushka Sharma believes she never faced nepotism in her career. The actress was launched by in 2008 by Yash Raj Films in ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ opposite Shah Rukh Khan. She has later also worked with Vishal Bhardwaj, Karan Johar and Rajkumar Hirani, among others. The actress says that she has a huge respect for Aditya Chopra who launched her, Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra and all others were not from the film industry!

Another B-town outsider Swara Bhaskar feels Bollywood as an industry is based on relationships, it has always been star-driven and it has an element of feudalism. So, it would be difficult for an outsider but according to her experience, Bollywood is not nepotistic at all.

Alia Bhatt, daughter of Mahesh Bhatt, who was launched by Karan Johan in 2012 with ‘Student of the Year’, feels being a star kid can help you get your first film due to nepotism. She says, “I think a star kid can get that first film due to nepotism. But to constantly get films just because you belong to a filmy family is not possible. I don’t want to take any names, but there have been many examples of sons and daughters of lineage who have come and gone without achieving anything. What about that? Eventually, people come to see you as an actor and not because your family is famous, and you can’t fool them.”

While Prachi Desai has a different story to tell, she calls Bollywood ‘a large family business’, she says, “There are a lot of talented actors who may probably never get those opportunities that the star kids get with biggest of production houses. There have been films for which I was considered but I know some star daughter’s fathers called the producers and I was dropped.”

Another actress to face drawbacks of being an ‘outsider’ is Richa Chadha, she says, “People forget to realise that sometimes those not born in the fraternity attract more work from overseas because of their talent. But back home, we are not welcomed or valued the way we should.”

Kangana’s ‘Queen’ co-star Rajkumar Rao says Nepotism is not just in Bollywood it exists in all fields. He says, “Favouritism is there of course, it is present everywhere, so it is fine. But my only concern is when because of favouritism I have to see non-talented people in films. That is a problem for me.”

It seems every B-towner has a different take on ‘Nepotism’ or maybe other members of the industry prefer to ‘play safe’.

From the past..

Kangana_Hrithik

Well, this is not the first time, Kangana has involved in ‘star-wars’. The Hrithik-Kangana battle, also the ugliest public fight in the history of Bollywood, all started with a rumoured affair between them, making it one of the reasons of Hrithik and Sussanne Khan’s divorce. The battle started with several legal notices exchanged between the duo and finally ended with cyber police filing an ‘NIL’ report.

And when the ‘uglist-battle’ was on, her ex-boyfriend Adhyayan Suman gave shocking details about their relationship, and how Kangana sabotaged his career (!), physically and verbally abused him and his family, was obsessed with Jr Roshan and how she did black magic.

Dark-horse of Bollywood

Kangana-Ranaut

Amidst all the controversies and blame-game, did we all forget how Kangana being an outsider has managed her way up to the top, how she has bagged three national awards and how she is today one of the highest-paid female actor of Bollywood?

Looking back at Kangana’s initial days in Bollywood it is not hard to recognise that she has come a long way and has always impressed her fans with her out-of-the-box performances and her ability to nail unconventional roles.

Kangana’s journey from a ‘small town girl’ from Himachal Pradesh to becoming a ‘Queen’ of Bollywood was no fairytale. The actress faced a tough-time during the process of retaining her individuality, how can we forget her initial days in Bollywood when she was shamed for her dressing style and speaking skills.

All we can say is the actress has not earned the epithet of Bollywood’s ‘Queen’ and in a true sense deserves it. So whether you love her or hate her or love to hate her, you cannot ignore her!