The three had also been clicked together at the launch of the event.
Mumbai: Karan Johar had already been at the receiving end of public wrath when he ridiculed Kangana’s takedown of him on his own show for being nepotistic a few odd months back. While the debate had died a gradual death, Karan, Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan gave the charade a fresh lease of life, by ridiculing Kangana and flaunting their own nepotistic career propellers under the garbed pretext of humour at the recently concluded IIFA awards, as would have been expected, the jibe did not go down well and people reacted strongly to the distasteful humour.
Varun Dhawan, youngest of the lot, was the first to go into damage control mode, apologising profusely on his social media feed post the backlash. However, he chose to not name the actress acknowledge the IIFA mishap in his tweet.
Saif himself addressed the blazing controversy in an interview to FirstPost, positing, "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."
But would he have got those opportunities and multiple second chances had he not had a privileged background? An outsider might have outrightly been shun, unless he’s proven himself consistently over a prolonged period of time and established himself a bankable star.
However, the biggest turnaround was from Karan Johar himself, who did not for once try to justify his act, apologising unconditionally for it.
"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.
No matter what I say or feel about my issues with what Kangana said on my talk show Koffee With Karan, I think I was raised to be a dignified, a chivalrous, and a decent person. That's the upbringing that I was given and I feel that I failed on those accounts. I felt that no matter what my thoughts or personal issues on this, I should not have repeatedly brought that up. For that, I'm deeply regretful.
I want to once and for all say and close this chapter after this and subsequently I will not speak about nepotism nor Kangana because it would be distrustful for her and it would be ungraceful at my end, which I've already been. Nepotism is easy access, nobody can deny that, but what you do with that access is what moulds you into a professional," he told NDTV.
Well, with the kind of rebuking the three were being subjected to across social media platform and public discourses, the apologies were inevitable. This despite the fact that the outspoken actress is yet to respond to the massive fiasco. But will such strong public aversion to the idea of nepotism change the film industry’s skeletally hierarchical means and provide fresh aide to outsiders with potential? One must wait and watch.