It’s absolutely hilarious when people in positions of privilege make jokes about problems that feature them as perpetrators. It’s even more hilarious when the whole country is privy to these jokes and gets the impression that it's OK to trivialize these issues and discredit people who are speaking up against them.
At the recently-held IIFA awards, Karan Johar, Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan saw fit to make light of an issue they’ve been actively at the centre of.
Ironically, Varun was onstage to pick up the award for ‘Best Performance in a Comic Role’ for the forgettable Dhishoom when he joined hosts Karan and Saif’s digs at Kangana Ranaut.
Saif hilariously reminded Varun that he is there "Because of your pappa", to which Varun hilariously replied “You are here because of your mummy”. Karan joined in the fun by adding that he, too, is there because of his father. The trio then shouted “nepotism rocks”.
Varun then followed up the already cringeworthy exchange by singing “Bole Chudiyan, Bole Kangana” from Karan’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Karan replied, “Kangana nahi bole to accha hai” (It’s better if Kangana doesn’t speak).
In case you didn’t get why this is so funny, here’s a quick recap: Kangana appeared on Koffee With Karan with Saif and spoke about the rampant nepotism practiced in Bollywood. She pointed out that Karan himself is the face, or rather the ‘flag bearer’, of nepotism in Bollywood. This, obviously, didn’t go down well with Karan. He later accused Kangana of using the ‘woman card’ and playing the victim every time (Side note: What is this woman card and where can we procure it from?). He also asked her to leave the industry if she thinks they're so bad.
Kangana politely put Karan in his place by saying, “The Indian film industry is not a small studio given to Karan by his father when he was in his early 20s. That is just a small molecule. The industry belongs to every Indian and is highly recommended for outsiders like me whose parents were too poor to give me a formal training. I learnt on the job and got paid for it, using the money to educate myself in New York. He is nobody to tell me to leave it. I'm definitely not going anywhere, Mr Johar.”
Following this exchange, Bollywood's star kids had the tough job of defending their stance on the issue, something that resulted in a host of tone deaf statements, most notably from Varun. He normalized the fact that it was his father’s position in the industry that actually gave him the opportunity to be an actor by saying, “They’re acting as if their fathers have never given them a pencil box... The computer you’re sitting on is also given to you by your father. It just becomes an excuse after a while.”
We understand how difficult it is to find jokes that do not involve men dressing in drag and/or allude to Karan’s sexual preferences. We also understand that the problem lies with us, the audience, who’ve encouraged a culture where over-entitled brats can climb up onto an international stage and discredit a woman for speaking her mind in the name of humour. So how about we put an end to this once and for all?