Filmmaker Karan Johar re-opened the 'nepotism' debate at the recently concluded International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards function in New Jersey on Sunday. The director joined hosts actors Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan as they took an indirect dig at Kangana Ranaut's comments that caused a controversy earlier this year.
It began with hosts Khan and Varun ribbing each other over their parentage. Khan told Varun, "You are here because of your papa," referencing Varun's father, director David Dhawan. To which Varun responded by saying, "And you are here because of your mummy." Not to be left out, director Karan jumped in by saying, "I am here because of my papa (Yash Johar)," before the trio piped up together, "Nepotism rocks!"
While it is not sure if the three were trying to make light of the event, it only raked up some uncomfortable issues for the industry. Ranaut had opened the issue on Karan's chat show, Koffee with Karan, in February calling the director the 'flagbearer of nepotism'.
At a later event, Karan had responded by telling the actress to stop playing the 'victim card'. This led to a frictious divide in the industry. While the debate had died down over the last few months, owing to Ranaut's other battle of story credit, it has been raked up again.
Ranaut did not attend the IIFA Awards, but Khan was her co-star in Rangoon. The film's other co-star, Shahid Kapoor won the Best Actor award at the event for his performance in Udta Punjab (2016).