Thursday, December 2, 2010

Team Rishi vs. Team Johar



A new front in the constant Battle of the Camps in Bollywood has opened. Veteran gossip watchers know that the 2000s were defined by the War of Everybody vs. Vivek Oberoi (2003-2010) along with a rotating game of figuring out which two of the Three Khans were united against the other one. Bollywood is a tight-knit community. People aren’t just colleagues but family. And in this
khandan, offering a favor to a second cousin’s daughter could set her up with a very lucrative career where in other families she might end up working the counter at the family store. But the flip side of this is that a spat between two cousins can sever a business relationship worth lakhs of rupees, not just personal ties.

There are three words behind why I am bringing this up:
Kofee. With. Karan. Karan Johar, the dapper, glass-closeted director-cum-chat show host has been stirring up trouble on the latest season of the show. Karan Johar’s success as a chat show host comes from his ability to use his personal relationship with guests to draw out interesting tidbits during interviews. It’s not as easy as it looks. (Farhan Akhtar’s short-lived chat show had half of that. He used his personal relationships with people to get the on the show but was unable to get comfortable in front of the camera and the whole exercise was a stiff affair.) Celebrities rarely give good interviews. They are understandably wary of revealing too much about their personal lives and true feelings about producers and directors whom they may hope to work with. Karan Johar has the magical ability to punch past those defenses, which is what makes his show worth watching.

Recently, however, Karan lead two of his guests a bit too far for the comfort of the industry. Starlets Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor vented their feelings about their co-stars and competition.

One target was the Fair and Lovely Katrina Kaif (in full disclosure, she is a personal favorite of mine). Deepika commented that
she wanted to see Katrina’s passport to verify her age (there is speculation that Ms. Kaif is older than she claims) or possibly to see if Kat went to visit Ranbir in New York City during the shooting of Anjaana Anjaani as was rumored. Now, either way it wasn’t exactly a gracious remark and either way you interpret it, Deepika sounded like a bratty girl lashing out at a convenient target and certainly didn’t put foster any good will even if it did grab her headlines. (Katrina herself responded to the accusations with icy finesse.)

And if that had been the end of it, I think things would have settled fairly quickly. So, maybe Ranbir and Katrina had a fling while he was “officially” with Deepika... Katrina may have more cachet in Bollywood currently but she is no longer attached (as far as we know) to the powerful Salman Khan Camp and chances of retaliation except through soundbite were slim. Plus, it’s not like Deepika and Katrina would be starring together any time soon and they compete for the same roles anyway.



But the girls were not content to leave well enough alone and went after Deepika’s ex-boyfriend, too: Ranbir Kapoor, son of the esteemed and powerful Rishi Kapoor of
the Kapoors; cousin to the divine Miss Kareena; and with the exception of Anjaana Anjaani, one of the few young Heroes able to get the box offices jangling. Yes, that would be THE Ranbir Kapoor who is anchoring the upcoming Bollywood world tour - a potentially very lucrative Bollywood world tour.

Deepika and Sonam basically called Ranbir an
under endowed man-whore and suggested that he could benefit from a packet of condoms. And that he was unfashionable.

While Ranbir has smartly remained silent, his Papa spoke up and said:
"Well to put things in the right perspective, all I can say is that with both the girls it is a case of sour grapes. I have known Sonam's father Anil for years. All I will say to the girls is: instead of doing all this concentrate on your careers... I don't think you should encourage people to wash dirty linen in public. You will never see Ranbir running anyone down."

Well said, Rishi-ji.

And as if to prove his power and influence, Rishi has had both Deepika and Sonam dropped from the upcoming world tour. An over-reaction? Probably, but I don’t blame him. Would you want to be helping people who had been mocking your son on television? Nope.

Here’s the thing: If Deepika and Sonam were going to make them money, they wouldn’t have been dropped. Deepika and Sonam may be the current favorites for fashion magazine covers but between the two of them, they don’t have the drawing power of a Katrina Kaif. And certainly, Ranbir can pull better heroines from the pool of star daughters just
waiting to debut. (I hear Narmada Ahuja is cheap and available.) Whether we like it or not, popular Indian films are still Hero-driven. Heroines - especially when they aren’t great actresses or sex bombs - are replaceable.

Deepika comes across as a naive young woman who mistakenly thought she could date an actor and have him be faithful to her. Instead of venting to Twinkle Khanna or Susanne Roshan or the other ladies of the Wives Club, Deepika decided to go public with her vitriol. And unlike Twinkle Khanna or Susanne Roshan, she doesn’t have a family to back her up.

Getting a tattoo of your boyfriend’s initials on your neck when you are all of 23 years old? Naive. Doing the same when you are an actress and hope to trade on your looks? Really stupid.

At least Deepika shows signs of developing into a fine talent. Sonam, on the other hand, has all the skill of an Esha Deol (i.e. not much.) And if she wants to cash in on her connections for roles, that is completely within her right (just as it’s within mine to refuse to watch her films). But if she is counting on connections to get roles, she can’t be going around dishing on her co-stars. (If I was Ranbir, instead of choosing Sonam, I would be like “Hello, Narmaada? Are you available for a
masala film?”)

Rishi is also allegedly forcing
Wake Up Sid director Ayan Mukerji to choose between Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and Team Ranbir Kapoor. AND backed out of Karan Johar’s Agneepath. An over-reaction? Definitely. But in this family business, personal connections are a big part of doing business. And if you are Rishi Kapoor, Dharma productions needs you more than you need it - especially with their track record recently. What has remained unspoken through all the fuss is that Dharma isn’t doing so hot these days. While I Hate Luv Storys and My Name Is Khan were hits, they weren’t blockbusters. (MNIK was very expensive.) And We Are Family and Kurbaan were expensive duds. Dostana in 2008 was Dharma’s last real big hit.

Ranbir, on the other hand, is riding high. And Rishi is doing steady work playing father figures and doesn’t need anybody’s good will. He’s RISHI F’ING KAPOOR! Monty Sharma!
The AKBHAR! If Rishi Kapoor wants to make a film, it gets made... while Ayan shouldn’t have to choose, life isn’t fair. I shouldn’t have to choose between two dresses to purchase but if I can only afford one, what can I do? Ayan will just have to decide if alienating Camp Karan Johar is worth directing the Kapoor khandan. (And based only on how much I loved Wake Up Sid, I would encourage him to choose Team Kapoor.)

And let’s just talk about Ranbir for a second. Is he a douche for cheating on Deepika? Honestly, I don’t think so. And I don’t think any Bollywood actors or actresses are douches for sleeping around. Monogamy is hard and it’s even harder when there are literally thousands of beautiful people throwing themselves at you. It would take superhuman resistance to resist that and most of us struggle with plain old human resistance. Life isn’t a fairytale and no Bollywood actor (or actress) is going to be a prince (or princess) charming.



(I hope it was worth it, girls!)

Is Deepika bitter because her airy-fairy romance was crushed? Yes, and I sympathize.

Is it Ranbir’s fault? No.

Should she have kept her mouth shut on
Koffee with Karan? Definitely.

The real moral of the story is... Bollywood is clannish. It’s hard to break into and even harder to stick around, especially if you aren’t a star child. Bollywood is a business and nobody is
owed roles and success. And in the end, a name and one giant hit will only get you so far. It all comes down to money.

15 comments:

Bluemay said...

This is one time when I disagree with most of your post. The girls' comments were said in jest and it's clear from pictures backstage at the KwK taping that Sonam, Deepika and Ranbir are friendly. If Ranbir was really upset by the comments, he would be the one saying stuff. But it's his father, Rishi, who's making a jack-ass of himself for being so proud of his son for being promiscuous and then slaying his son's ex-gf for mentioning this behavior in the press. Hypocrisy. At 28, Ranbir needs to grow a pair and stand up to his dad because at one point he did have feelings for Deepika and it's pretty classless to let your dad bad-mouth your ex in such a manner for speaking the truth. Instead of letting the incident go, Rishi is continuing the drama and bullying people. Classless for a BW legend and exemplifies how BW is still such a male-dominated industry.

Deepika answers questions posed to her. She hasn't learned the art of side-stepping questions or providing generic answers that reveal nothing of her true feelings. Perhaps, this will help her learn.

BTW, Katrina is not a big draw for shows in the West. Indians in India love Kat but most NRIs do not. We want to see stars who can dance. Priyanka, Bipasha and Deepika are bigger draws in the West.

Bolly Blogger said...

I would have to agree with Bluemay on this one. While Deepika and Sonam could have conducted themselves with more dignity and a touch more finesse, it was refreshing to see an interview when the guests actually revealed how they felt. And while it may not have been the best career move for Deepika (Sonam has a powerful family herself, not to mention Anil Kapoor is also related to the RK clan), the whole fiasco is much ado propagated primarily by papa dearest.

Karen SK said...

I enjoy reading your blog posts, filmigirl, but have to diasgree with most of your post here, as pointed out by bluemay.

I like Rishi and enjoyed the KWK shoe, but do feel he's way overreacting. I do feel deepika is naive (and a bad actress) and Sonam's quite full of herself (and a terrible actress), but they came across as honest. It was giggly girl talk (a la SATC) and good fun. Maybe not appropriate for national television, granted!

Ranbir really needs to step in and sort of settle this with an "OK folks, enough of this drama. Go home now and come back with slates clean".

S said...

I too think that Rishi is overreacting (understandably I think) but embarrassing himself and his son in public - like, why does Ranbir need his daddy to jump in for him..it might generate that kind of talk.

Also, I totally don't agree with you that Ranbir was not wrong to cheat on Deepika (if he actually did). Being rich, handsome and having people throwing themselves at you is not an excuse to cheat, imo. If someone in such a position wants sex with many different people, they are free to have one-night stands (much easier for them than for us normal folks). If they choose a relationship, then they must honour that committment.

And yes, Bollywood stars have to work hard to resist the people throwing them but it's a trade-off. With all the glory and money come greater responsibilities. So I don't think Deepika was wrong in expecting him to be unfaithful (assuming of course, that she was faithful herself). I guess I'm just naive but that's my two cents.

Anishok said...

I agree with all of the commenters. I know Kat is a favorite of yours, but I totally see Deepika's point of view in this brouhaha. First of all...What is wrong with being naive and in love at 23? What is wrong with expecting your boyfriend to be faithful to you? What is wrong with being catty to a person you most certainly know was the reason of your break-up?

And let’s just talk about Ranbir for a second. Is he a douche for cheating on Deepika? Honestly, I don’t think so.

Seriously?! He's a mega-douche. And his Dad is a bigger douche (even though I will forever love Rishi on-screen). He bad-mouthed the girl, when Ranbir was dating her, he cheered his son on to sleep around and now he's bitter cause of a couple of biting comments? Puh-lease...What a f*cking diva. :P

Ness said...

I'm with Anishok, 100%. Couldn't have said it better!

Filmi Girl said...

Wow! It's pretty lonely over here in Team Cynic. :)

Thank you for your comments, ladies, and I do understand why you are so supportive of Deepika. I was a naive 23 year old at one time, too.

However wrong you think I am about the Deepika-Ranbir relationship, you have to admit that it was (at the very least) unwise of her to spill secrets about her relationship on TV.

And now, she is making it worse by not apologizing.

Personally, I still think she and Sonam are a pair of silly, over-privledged girls and I hope this media fuss knocks some sense into their heads about what one should and shouldn't say about one's personal life as a celebrity.

If they aren't careful, they will end up like Rakhi Sawant, who spills these kind of personal feuds to the press all the time... and look where she is.

nayika said...

Have you actually watched the episode or are you just taking Rishi's word for it? (Who by the way also hadn't watched the episode when he made all his chauvinistic idiotic comments)

Deepika didn't actually spill anything about their relationship except to confirm that yes she did give a quote to a magazine that she was cheated on.

This was after Ranbir had already been on the same show and admitted he cheated on a girlfriend repeatedly

What does she have to apologize for? She doesn't need Neetu and Rishi's approval for anything

I can't believe Rishi thinks Deepika and Sonam are only on the show because of their fathers.

Does he think Ranbir is there because of his acting skills alone? And no matter how succesful Deepika's dad is at Badminton I don't think that was really the draw for Karan to invite her on.

Everything was said in jest and very tongue in cheek.

S said...

Agree that it was kind of unwise for Deepika to talk about her personal life on TV, especially in clannish Bollywood. Agree with nayika. I personally think Ranbir is a better actor than Deepika but part of his fame is his heritage, definitately. And I think that it's ridiculous for Rishi to say that Deepika was on the show because her father's famous. He's a badminton player, not a Bollywood star.

suhail said...

the Kapoor Clan is a Has Been for Many Decades till the Kapoor Sisters vitalized it to its Raj Kapoor Era..and now Ranbir Kapoor is making it Happen...Else it is NO MATCH To the karan Johar Camp...who is well connected to the SRK Camp, Chopra Camp and the Bachchan Camp..Hence they went after the Poor Girls who unfortunately have to take it like it is still 1970s.

dagnyfan said...

The girls will have to live with the consequences of their actions and learn about whether or not they think it was worth it to be honest in public.

Personally, Ranbir's own comments from the week before about the phone ID deception did more damage to my opinion of him (as a person. I still think he's a promising actor)than anything the girls said.

I am struggling to understand how and why you so easily excuse his infidelity. His lying and deception were very unsavory. Why did he claim to be dating someone exclusively? Just be open about dating/sleeping around - at least that has the respectability of honesty about it.

Now that his reputation is out in the open, any girl dating him would be a fool to expect fidelity and they have no right to complain as he has revealed his true nature...buyer beware. However, I do think Deepika had a right to feel anger (I also think it's foolish to air that grievance publicly).

Filmi Girl said...

@dagnyfan Thank you for your comments!

Lying and deception are unsavory, I agree. I don't know why Ranbir's infidelity doesn't really bother me - perhaps because I never expect anybody in Bollywood to be faithful, so it seems unforgivably naive of Deepika to think that one of the hottest guys in Bollywood would be.

While he shouldn't have lied, Deepika only has herself to blame for living in a fairy tale. She MUST have seen some of the behind the scene shenanigans that these actors get up to and yet she thinks that she is immune from it?

I don't know. That attitude just rubbed me the wrong way.

Hopefully she will be wiser in the future.

Sami Saayer said...

for a change, this time i would kinda agree with you. i have seen the show and i believe it was purely intentionally humiliating the guy. was there a need of discussing ranbir in the first place? not really. they could have had the show without that too but of course there would have been less masala. adding masala on expense of someone else, i would never appreciate.
i am not a katrina kaif fan but sonam kapoor is a disaster. having watched i hate luv storys (which i dont think was a hit. it was average) i can never like anything she says or does.
i also beleive that ranbir and rishi are playing it smart when ranbir is quite and rishi is loud. very safe approach. and there is no reason for ranbir to confront his dad for a lady who is publicy making fun of him.

pripplepropple said...

I agree with you so so much! After what happened with Ranbir and Deepika, Ranbir never ever says anything bad about Deepika. But Deepika repeatedly slags him off, judges him, both indirectly and directly. When she said he should "endorse a condom brand" she clearly meant that she thinks he's a man-whore. But when Ranbir was asked about this all he said was he thinks its wonderful that Deepika wants me to promote safe sex. Bless Rishi Kapoor, defending his son, he is clearly disappointed with the girls and Karan. Why talk about Ranbir, is there nothing else for those 2 girls to gossip about? Why judge him so much? It ws alright to start off, but then they wnet too far. Team Kapoor all the way!!

maxqnz said...

I've tended to follow the example of a 'nakhrewali' friend and try to separate on and off screen personae, but there is something that puzzles me about this brouhaha: Why does no one focus on the real villain of the piece - that smarmy, snivelling waspishly effete egomaniac hosting the show? KwK exists to try to get storms like this one created. I'm sure there are faults all round in these stories (although as a male who values fidelity my sympathies are NOT with the Kapoor men), but KwK is tabloid TV of a banality and vapidity the equal of any show anywhere, and controversies like this are why that steaming pile of drek is in its 4th season - people tune in HOPING to see the guillotine come down on someone, and that slimy manipulator delivers.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl