The Internet has once again painted a target on Karan Johar’s back, which he acknowledged obliquely in a poetic note of defiance shared on his Instagram Stories. It all began when Priyanka Chopra told US actor Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert that she had quit Bollywood because she “had beef with people” and felt “cornered.” On desi Twitter, fingers were instantly pointed at Karan Johar who, rumour has it, led a boycott campaign against Priyanka before she left to make a dent in Hollywood and ended up starring in Quantico, the Baywatch film and now the Russo Brothers series Citadel. Social media went looking for trouble and found it in an old clip of KJo and his Ae Dil Hai Mushkil star Anushka Sharma in which he quipped about once having “wanted to murder” the actress’ career. Here’s how it started and how it’s going.
Late last month, Priyanka Chopra raised the dust back home in India by telling podcast host Dax Shepard exactly why she looked West. “I was being pushed into a corner in the industry (Bollywood). I had people not casting me, I had beef with people, I am not good at playing that game so I kind of was tired of the politics and I said I needed a break,” she said.
The Internet was quick to connect the dots to Karan Johar. This clip, shared by screenwriter Apurva Asrani and others, went viral and was seen as proof that KJo had targeted not just Priyanka but other “outsider” actors as well – in it, the filmmaker jokes about why he tried to “sabotage” Anushka, who had been cast by Yash Raj Films, and later apologized. “I totally wanted to completely murder Anushka Sharma’s career because when Aditya Chopra showed me her image, I was like ‘no no, mad or what? You’re crazy there’s no need for you to sign this Anushka Sharma.’ There was another lead actress at that time who I wanted Adi to sign and I was totally behind the scenes sabotaging (Anushka) completely. The movie also I was reluctantly watching at that time, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. But when I saw Band Baaja Baaraat I called her and I felt like I owed her an apology and a compliment. Apology because I felt so embarrassed that I would have actually ruined the graph of an exceptional talent,” KJo says in the video.
‘I totally wanted to murder Anushka Sharma’s career’ – Karan Johar confesses to Rajeev Masand & Anupama Chopra in 2016. Said in jest, I’m sure, but still a worthy point in the raging insider-outsider debate. pic.twitter.com/8JNLp8Kyud
— Apurva (@Apurvasrani) April 6, 2023
Actress Kangana Ranaut added her voice to the gathering storm of protests – Kangana and Karan Johar have feuded ever since she branded him Bollywood’s “flagbearer of nepotism” on an episode of his chat show Koffee With Karan. He responded by chanting “nepotism rocks” at the IIFA Awards with actors Varun Dhawan and Saif Ali Khan – all three are second-generation Bollywood and apologized for the IIFA controversy after backlash.
Whatever “beef” Priyanka Chopra and Karan Johar may or may not have had in the past, they greeted each other warmly at the opening of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre in Mumbai some days ago. Priyanka, who flew in from Los Angeles with husband Nick Jonas and daughter Malti Marie, was filmed hugging KJo at the event – the video went viral.
Over the weekend, Karan Johar shared these resolute and poetic words: “Laga lo ilzaam, Hum jhukne waalon mein se nahi, Jhoot ka ban jao Ghulam, Hum bolne waalon mein se nahi, Jitna neecha dikhaoge, Jitne aarop lagaoge, Hum girne waalon mein se nahi, Humara karam humari Vijay hai, Aap utha lo talvaar, Hum marne waalon mein se nahi (Accuse me, I won’t bend. Become a slave to lies, I will not respond. No matter how low you go, I will not fall. My victory is in my actions. Take up the sword, I will not die).”
Karan Johar is currently working on Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, starring Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh.
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