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I feel very responsible: Karan Johar apologises for KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya's suspension after Koffee With Karan episode

The two cricketers have been suspended pending inquiry by the BCCI after their controversial episode on Johar's chat show Koffee With Karan. 

Shriram Iyengar

While he was among the guests at Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli's wedding with Anushka Sharma last year, producer-director Karan Johar might be off the guest lists of cricketers. The director and host of the show Koffee With Karan apologised for causing the suspension of cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul. The cricketers were suspended by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) following the controversy over Pandya's crude comments about women on the show.

After the fiasco of the behaviour of the cricketers, Pandya and Rahul on the latest episode of Koffee With Karan season 6, the online streaming partners of the show, Hotstar, have pulled the episode off air.

In an interview with ET Now, Johar apologised for his role in the controversy. He said, "I feel very responsible because it was my show, my platform. I invited them as guests, and so the ramifications and repercussions of the show are my responsibility. I have had so many sleepless nights just wondering about how I can undo this damage."

After the suspension of the two cricketers for their comments, there was a growing furore on social media over Johar's role in the entire controversy. The director pointed out that he often posed similar questions to other guests on the show, including women. He said, "I have to say that the questions I asked the two boys, are the questions I ask everyone, including women. Deepika [Padukon] and Alia [Bhatt] were on the show, and I asked them those questions."

The director also pointed out that no female member of his team had a problem with the answers on the show. "No one told me this was inappropriate or 'Karan, we should reflect on it," he said. Calling himself a 'feminist', Johar said, "I have been raised by strong women and believe in the power of women and what they can contribute to the world. I would never want to offend them, and that was not the idea."   

However, Johar expressed regret over the consequences of the show, adding that he is now 'very conscious' of posing such questions to his guests.

"I will be so conscious about shooting any episode. No (have you shot an episode after that) But if I do, I will be so worried about asking the questions I did. I was trying to be edgy," he said.

On being asked if he would avoid inviting cricketers to the show anymore, he added, "I think I am off their list."

With Kohli refusing to be a part of the show, and BCCI contemplating an end to cricketers appearing on any other talk show unrelated to cricket, Johar might just be proven true.