ENTERTAINMENT
23/01/2019 12:44 PM IST | Updated 23/01/2019 1:06 PM IST

Karan Johar Breaks His Silence On Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul Controversy

Johar says he feels immense 'guilt and helplessness' and has apologised to the cricketers.

The India Today Group via Getty Images

After cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul were called out for their misogynistic comments on Koffee With Karan, the filmmaker had, so far, maintained a stoic silence on the controversy.

However, in a conversation with HuffPost India, Karan Johar said that he’s been feeling a lot of guilt over the criticism faced by the two cricketers, who were banned from playing a few matches.

The director told HuffPost India that he reached out to the two cricketers and apologised for the episode. “They were quite gracious about it.”

Johar said, “I did not see this coming. I feel immense guilt and helplessness. The show’s nature is frivolous and fun and since the past few seasons, it has some kind of sexual energy going in it. The questions I asked Hardik and KL Rahul are the same that I’ve asked to other men and women. I  am a liberal feminist at heart, and if I have offended the sensibilities of women as a result of those questions, I really do apologise because that was not my intent.”

He further added, “I can’t comment on the answers of others because that’s not my place to. But the questions are what I am accountable for. And yes, I take due responsibility for whatever the repercussions and ramifications are. The feeling is of immense guilt at this moment because for me, this is one of the many things I do but for them it’s their job. They play cricket and they are good at what they do. They have been punished  as they may not have played two or three matches by the time your piece may go out.”

The director said that he hopes Pandya and Rahul are given another chance.

I really hope they are given a second chance because they may have learnt that maybe certain thoughts that play through your head, shouldn’t be platformed. They are good cricketers, they are young, they have a future ahead of them, and I really would like to say that it is entirely my fault for having put out something that may have caused damage. I don’t want them to take the brunt for this. And I won’t say that I am not responsible because ultimately, it is my show.  And I really thought that the questions asked were in the same sense of fun, frivolousness, pretty much what the mantra of my show has been for this season which is “stop making sense” which I think went too far, and went out of hand perhaps.”

I really thought that the questions asked were in the same sense of fun, frivolousness, pretty much what the mantra of my show has been for this season which is “stop making sense” which I think went too far, and went out of hand perhaps

Johar also said that it has shaken his foundations. “And made me second-guess my instincts which I have never done before.”

When asked, how, as a liberal feminist, he didn’t see the problem in the nature of their answers, Johar said, “There are other women on the set who are progressive, who are intelligent, who are women of contemporary times and none of them saw this coming and that’s why all of us can’t stop guessing our second instincts, which is great because it will keep us in check the other time around.”

The entire controversy has made him fearful, the filmmaker said.

“I think it has driven me to a point of not caution, but fear, because I don’t want to feel responsible for people’s careers. It makes uncomfortable, unhappy and leaves a lingering feeling of guilt. The reason why I haven’t been able to speak yet is because I don’t know what to do! I feel guilty and I feel helpless. All I can see is I hope they are given a second chance. They are young and dynamic cricketers. Everyone deserves a second chance. While I am in full support of trial by media, and I believe it’s a really essential powerful force, trial by social media, trial by media are very important to keep many things in check but sometimes you know the harshness of a punishment can really harm a career of an individual who may have already repented.”

Johar was speaking to HuffPost India as part of a larger conversation, which will be published soon.