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I would be a farmer if genes mattered: Kangana Ranaut on nepotism

Photo: PTI

MUMBAI: Kangana Ranaut has broken her silence on the nepotism debate, which hit the headlines when Karan Johar, Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan brought it up on the IIFA stage, and said she would be “a farmer” if the point about family genes were true.

The three stars chanted “nepotism rocks” in New York during the IIFA awards last week and Johar took a swipe at Kangana who had called him “flag bearer of nepotism” on his chat show.

While Johar and Varun apologised, Saif claimed in an open letter that he had personally said sorry to her.

The debate and exchange of thoughts on nepotism is “exasperating, but is healthy”, Kangana responded, also in an open letter.

Quoting a part of her “Rangoon” co-star’s letter, where he “emphasised” on nepotism being an investment on tried and tested genes, Kangana said, “I have spent a significant part of my life studying genetics. But, I fail to understand how you can compare genetically hybrid racehorses to artistes!

“Are you implying that artistic skills, hard-work, experience, concentration spans, enthusiasm, eagerness, discipline and love, can be inherited through family genes? If your point was true, I would be a farmer back home.”

While she enjoyed some of the perspectives on this subject, she did find a few of them disturbing, she said.

“Saif, in your letter you mentioned that, ‘I apologised to Kangana, and I don’t owe anyone any explanation, and this issue is over.’ But this is not my issue alone. Nepotism is a practice where people tend to act upon temperamental human emotions, rather than intellectual tendencies,” Kangana wrote.

The actress said any business run by human emotions and not by great value-systems, might gain superficial profits, but cannot be productive enough to tap into the true potential of a nation.

“Nepotism, on many levels, fails the test of objectivity and rationale.

“I have acquired these values from the ones who have found great success and discovered a higher truth, much before me. These values are in the public domain, and no one has a copyright on them,” she added, giving examples of greats like Swami Vivekananda, Albert Einstein and William Shakespeare.

Kangana said the aim of the conversation started by her was to encourage outsiders; her agenda was not to blame people from the industry.

“I think the privileged are the least to be blamed in this debate, since they are part of the system, which is set around chain reactions. Change can only be caused by those who want it. It is the prerogative of the dreamer who learns to take his or her due, and not ask for it.”

In response to Johar and his comments on the issue, she said talent does exist beyond the “superficiality of branded clothes, polished accents, and a sanitised upbringing”.

The actress added that many examples of people succeeding on the basis of “genuine hard-work, diligence and eagerness to learn” do exist all over world in every field.

“I don’t know if he was being misinformed, or simply naive, but to discredit the likes of Dilip Kumar, K Asif, Bimal Roy, Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, and many more, whose talent and exceptional abilities have formed the spine of our contemporary film business, is absolutely bizarre,” Kangana said.

The “Queen” star clarified that she was not fighting with anyone in the industry and her views should not be misconstrued to pit her and Saif against each other.

In her opinion, “nepotism is an extremely pessimistic attitude for a Third World country, where many people don’t have access to food, shelter, clothing, and education.”

“The world is not an ideal place, and it might never be.

That is why we have the industry of arts. In a way, we are the flag-bearers of hope,” she said, adding that people who feel nepotism works for them are free to make peace with it.