Karan Johar's trials and tribulations don't seem to come to an end. Even the director's silence isn't helping the conversation he seems to be unwillingly part of. The nepotism debate this time around has emotionally and mentally battered one of Bollywood's biggest names.
This time the allegation is coming from a journalist. It also came from someone close to the awards ring, working with organisers. However, the allegation offers a new look into the debate.
Karan Johar's threat to boycott awards
Since Sushant Singh Rajput's death, nobody in Bollywood has gotten as much flak as Karan Johar. Whether it's the comments he made in the past, films he directed or produced, those he chose to promote, the friends he made in the industry or his business ventures. Some may say, he wasn't even given the chance. Others ask whether he's the one who was given enough chances already.
The fall was major, but, what's emerged apart from the trolling, the bullying and the complete shunning of this side of the pond are the calls for change coming from the other side. More than anything else, allegations levelled against him are coming from voices of reason as well. Not allegations but a thought on what happens behind the glamour of Bollywood.
Shekhar Gupta, a journalist, in his recent column for ThePrint spoke about his experience working for the Screen Awards when he was the CEO of the Indian Express Group. He said he got some in-depth insight into how Bollywood's competition works. He also said the problem isn't meritocracy, the problem is 'respect'.
He was speaking about the Screen Awards 2011, following the release of My Name is Khan. Shekhar Gupta wasn't part of the jury deciding who would win the award, but he saw firsthand how the competition drove the awards behind the scenes. My Name is Khan was undoubtedly one of the biggest releases of the year. However, the movie wasn't nominated by the jury across categories.
Shah Rukh Khan was set to perform that year at the function and the one heading the jury was Amol Palekar. But, the film was not nominated, speaking about it the journalist said, "That got Karan Johar and that group very upset, so much so that until the day before the award including the afternoon of the award, I had to field long calls from him, and his friends and others and I didn't know most of them."
They threatened that Shah Rukh Khan wouldn't attend. Shekhar Gupta further writes that Karan Johar was upset with the jury with Amol Palekar and didn't respect his discretion. Due to the pressure, they awarded Shah Rukh Khan the popular choice award.
It is yet to be seen where this conversation will lead, if at all to any resolution. Karan Johar hasn't responded to this allegation and this recollection. His response will be published as an when received.