The untimely death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput has shaken the conscience of the nation. It has also opened a can of worms about the murky industry the Bollywood has been for decades, where talent seems to take a backseat. Following the outbreak of the news, angry fans have been targeting the harbingers of nepotism, including Karan Johar, who has reportedly lost a lot of followers since 14 June, when the news of Sushant’s death emerged.
While there is no doubt about the fact that Karan Johar has been partly responsible for the current mess in Bollywood, and one could be forgiven for terming him as a schoolroom bully, he is not completely invincible either. There have been occasions when Karan’s arrogance was smashed to a pulp, and he was forced to apologize as well. One such man has been Ajay Devgn, who is perhaps one of the rare sane voices in an otherwise hypocritical Bollywood.
A wise man once said, ‘Never start a war you cannot win’. For Ajay Devgn, clashes of any kind are not a challenge, but a blessing in disguise, for whenever a clash has happened, Ajay Devgn has mostly emerged victorious in the end. However, it looks like Karan Johar had never observed Ajay’s tenacity, and he messed with him real bad, only to end up as a laughing stock for the entire nation.
Cut to 2016, from where it all began. Ajay Devgn had barely managed to hop back to limelight with his surprise hit Drishyam. He had taken the director’s seat once again with Shivaay, and it was all set to entertain the masses on Diwali. However, his film clashed with Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, and the clash wasn’t just professional, but personal as well. In a shocking series of tweets, actor Ajay Devgn had accused “self-proclaimed critic” Kamaal Rashid Khan (KRK) of taking money to malign his film. In an audio clip, KRK said that filmmaker Karan Johar paid him Rs 25 lakh to praise his film, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM), and trash Devgn’s Shivaay, both of which would release on the occasion of Diwali in 2016.
Now this wouldn’t have attracted so much controversy, had another issue related to Karan Johar not cropped up. When the audio clip was revealed, Kajol was furious with Karan Johar, to which Karan passed some objectionable remarks about her in an interview. Ajay Devgn did not take this insult lying down and severely criticized Karan for the same. Karan accepted the same in his autobiography ‘An Unsuitable Boy’, but accused Ajay of being mean towards him instead of gracefully accepting the mistake.
To make matters worse, Karan Johar was backing the involvement of Pakistani artistes in his film ADHM in the wake of Uri attacks and the subsequent surgical strikes, to which Ajay had taken strong offense. In the end, it was Ajay who had the last laugh, as despite the best of Karan’s efforts, ADHM couldn’t earn the amount Karan had intended, and Ajay Devgn had made a huge dent into his collections with his venture ‘Shivaay’.
Karan Johar, being the bully that he was, wanted Kajol to apologize for Ajay’s actions. He even said that Kajol and him are not friends anymore due to this incident. However, to his shock, Kajol stood by her husband and refused to bow down. In the end, after almost 3 years, it was Karan who had to eat humble pie and publicly apologize to Ajay Devgn on his own show ‘Koffee with Karan’, where he said, “I regret the bitterness I held for the actress, and said “sorry” to her. I missed those years when we didn’t speak. I wish I could take that chapter out of my book. I have to say this on National TV but I am really sorry. I shouldn’t have written that chapter.” He not only apologized once, but thrice, and also wished that he could be friends with Ajay once again.
However, this was not the first time that Ajay Devgn had to face such bullying by the Bollywood bigwigs. In 2012, Ajay’s film ‘Son of Sardaar’ was denied adequate screens due to a tussle with YRF’s ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, which was the last directorial by Yash Chopra, due to which Ajay also had to resort to legal action. Everyone was of the opinion that Ajay would not succeed in front of Shah Rukh Khan’s charisma. However, to their shock, Ajay’s film not only succeeded, but also earned a whopping Rs. 125 crores at the box office, denying SRK an invincible run at the box office. To be fair, Ajay hasn’t been treated kindly by the bigwigs of Bollywood. He was never cast in any YRF film till date, he has mostly been rejected by the so called stalwarts, including Karan Johar as well, and he was treated as a pariah. Yet, he never gave up and even gave the so called guardians of Bollywood a befitting reception whenever challenged. If only Sushant had taken a leaf or two from the pages of Ajay’s life.