Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan (R) and director/producer Karan Johar host the IIFA Awards of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on July 15, 2017.
Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan (R) and director/producer Karan Johar host the IIFA Awards of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on July 15, 2017.

Mumbai: Varun Dhawan, Saif Ali Khan and Karan Johar took a dig on nepotism at IIFA gala night in New York. Varun and Karan apologised for the joke. And, now Saif Ali Khan has also reacted.

He told Firstpost, “I respect Kangana tremendously for what she’s achieved, for coming up the hard way. We’re a mutual admiration society. She also agrees that despite having illustrious parents, I too have had an uneven beginning in Bombay. 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. Look at the spate of terrible movies I’ve starred in and you know that phase lasted for a long while.”

Talking about the controversy, Saif also said that, “To me at IIFA, it was just a joke and nothing more to be read into. But now I feel I had we given it more thought, we could’ve really finished this ongoing public discourse on nepotism more decisively.”

He also added, “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.”

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.

#NepotismRocks: Saif Ali Khan says jibe on Kangana was just a joke, nothing more

What was the joke at IIFA Awards?

At the IIFA awards, Varun Dhawan joined the hosts Saif Ali Khan and Karan Johar on the stage to receive a trophy for the Best Performance in A Comic Role.

At that time, Saif quipped, “You are here because of your papa”

Varun said, “And you’re here because of your mummy (veteran actress Sharmila Tagore).”

Karan promptly added, “I am here because of my papa (late filmmaker Yash Johar).”
They then said in unison, “Nepotism rocks”. What unfolded on stage after that was even worse. The trio broke into the song Bole Choodiyaan Bole Kangana, and soon Karan said, “Yeh Kangana bahut bolti hai.”

Apoligses

Varun Dhawan took to twitter for an apology. He wrote, I express my apology and regret. I am extremely sorry if I have offended or hurt anyone with that act…

Karan Johar

Speaking to NDTV, Karan Johar said, “Of course I don’t believe that ‘nepotism rocks’. Of course, I believe that only talent rocks. If anything that rocks, it’s your talent, hard work and conviction. It’s the energy you bring to your job. What we said was meant to be a joke, which I think has been misplaced, misunderstood and I think it went wrong. I regret it.”

Karan further admitted that it was his idea to joke about it. “The idea of that joke was entirely mine, so I take onus of the idea of what we said. And I think we went a bit too far with the Kangana mention,” he said.

Incidentally, Saif’s daughter Sara Ali Khan is going to debut in ‘Kedarnath’ along with co-star Sushant Singh Rajput. Also, other celebrity kids are rumored to be making their debut soon. Sanjay Leela Bhansali could launch Jaaved Jaaferi’s son Meezaan, Suniel Shetty son Ahan Shetty might debut in Sajid Nadiadwala next.

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