Breaking his silence on the controversy following comments by cricketers Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul on his chat show, filmmaker Karan Johar said that he apologises for what happened and admits the conversation “may have crossed boundaries”.
The filmmaker also said that he feels very responsible for the remarks made on “Koffee with Karan” and has spent sleepless nights wondering how to “undo this damage”.
Pandya and Rahul were widely slammed for their remarks labelled misogynistic and sexist and have been provisionally suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), pending an inquiry.
“I’m not justifying the conversation that happened on the episode. I’m saying that perhaps things were said that may have crossed boundaries and I apologise because it was my platform where it happened,” Johar told in an interview.
The filmmaker, who is in Davos for the World Economic Forum, said that the boys have “paid the price” for what happened on the episode.
“I haven’t spoken about it really… I feel very responsible because it was my show and 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. Who is going to listen to me? It has now gone into a zone that is beyond my control,” Johar told the channel in the interview posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
Calling himself a feminist who has been brought up by strong women, Johar said that he asks the same questions to everyone.
“I don’t defend myself when I say this, the questions I asked the two boys are the questions I ask everyone, including women. When Deepika (Padukone) and Alia (Bhatt) were on the show, I asked them those questions. I have no control over the answers that come my way. And post the show, I have a control room of about 16-17 girls. The show ‘Koffee with Karan’ is run entirely by women. I’m the only man there. None of them came up (with issues).”
According to Johar, some of them thought Pandya was wild, “crazy or cracked” and some said he was funny too.
“No one came and told me that ‘Karan, this is was inappropriate’,” he added.
Asked if that he has any regrets about the episode, Johar said he regretted what has happened to them.
“And then there was talk about me actually enjoying the TRP. I don’t care about the TRPs. This is a spin-off… It’s not my career, it’s theirs. I don’t care about the ratings. People don’t understand that an English language show is never dependent on its ratings. We are nowhere in the radar of ratings. It was not ratings, it was meant to be my show and I want to say it is frivolous. It is sometimes completely borderline ridiculous, irreverent, candid and stops making sense… That’s the show,” he added.
After the controversy, the episode featuring the two cricketers was taken down by Hotstar.
“Certain remarks/comments made by the guests on the episode 12 of Koffee with Karan may hurt the sentiments of our users/viewers. As a responsible platform, we have removed the episode from Hotstar with immediate effect,” Hotstar had tweeted.