Entertainment News

Saif Ali Khan on the media’s celebrity obsession, nepotism, eugenics, and prize horses

The actor clarifies to the ‘DNA’ newspaper that he has personally apologised to Kangana Ranaut.

“Nepotism is probably least prevalent in the movie industry and rampant in politics and business,” Saif Ali Khan has said in an open letter to the DNA newspaper. The actor was responding to the controversy about the nepotism skit at the recent Indian International Film Academy Awards in New York, where Khan, along Karan Johar and Varun Dhawan, poked fun at Kangana Ranaut.

Ranaut had previously called Johar a “flag-bearer of nepotism” on his show.

Dhawan apologised for declaring that “Nepotism rocks” at the IIFA event, while Johar clarified that what he really meant was that “Talent rocks.” And in an interview to Firstpost, Khan made a case for biological determinism: “Maybe there is something in the genes too that makes many of Raj Kapoor’s descendants actors or Pataudis cricketers. I think it’s actually eugenics and genetics that’s coming into play.”

In his open letter to DNA, Khan said that he had already apologised to Ranaut. He went on to attack criticism of the Firstpost interview, saying that the media was the “real flagbearer of nepotism” and was obsessed with the children of celebrities.

“Look at how they treat Taimur, Shahid’s daughter Misha or even Shah Rukh’s son AbRam,” he wrote. “They photograph them and hype them up to be the next big thing and the child has no choice. From a young age they have to deal with being celebrities, which they don’t really deserve, before they can even speak or talk, leave alone understand what is happening.” Rather than nepotism, there are three other systems in play, Khan said: aristocracy, meritocracy and democracy.

The actor clarified what he meant by the term eugenics (a highly controversial subject in the field of medical science):

“Eugenics means well born and in a movie context, the genes (the DNA we’re born with, not the blue trousers we wear) of, let’s say Dharmendra’s son or Amitabh Bachchan’s son or for that matter, Sharmila Tagore’s son come into play.

Because people are interested in what their children will be like and whether they will have the genes of their parents, in terms of their talent. If you need another example, then take race horses. We take a derby winner, mate him with the right mate and see if we can create another grand national winner. So, in that sense, this is the relationship between genetics and star kids. Hope that’s clear? As for the girl from Elle: I’m sorry you found words like eugenics in a conversation about nepotism misplaced. Perhaps if you got your head out of the hemline of the actress of the month and read a book, your vocabulary might improve.”

— Courtesy: DNA.

On the dreaded N-word, Khan declared:

“Nepotism in dynastic politics is a well-known and unspoken truth. It’s the same in business. But nobody talks about that. Nepotism is Donald Trump putting his daughter in the White House rather than someone who is better qualified. Actors are the soft targets. So if you say star kids have an advantage, of course, they do. It’s an advantage created by the press because people are interested in them. There is a curiosity to see Taimur, Sara or Ibrahim. It’s supply and demand. People want it, media serves it. So we’re all part of the same vicious circle in that sense.”

— Courtesy: DNA.
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