I thought Ajay couldn’t top suing Yash Chopra’s widow days after his death, but this is pretty bad! Not that he’s actually necessarily in the wrong, just like he wasn’t in the wrong last time, but it’s just turning into a whole thing again which isn’t going to help anybody’s film.
I saw “AjayDevgan” trending on twitter yesterday, most of the tweets and early reports were the usual hyperbolic stuff. The worst possible version of the story. Which was that Ajay Devgan released a recording proving that Karan Johar paid money to twitter troll/reporter/media whoever Kamaal Rashid Khan to choose Ae Dil Hai Mushkil over Shivaay.
(this teaser. KRK said it looked a lot better than Shivaay)
The first time I heard about Kamaal Rashid Khan was back when he tweeted that he would leave the country if Modi won the election, and then posted a screenshot of the tweet with Shahrukh’s name replacing his. And a whole bunch of people believed it! Which is crazy, because Shahrukh’s twitter is public, and I know there are reporters assigned to watch it (every news outlet has their periodic reports based on twitter feeds, clearly someone’s job is to read all of them), so this had to be the most easy scam to disprove in the world.
But that’s the thing with trolls, or whatever you would call KRK, they feed on our basest instincts. We want to believe that people are worse than us, especially famous people, that they are only successful because they “cheated” somehow, and so any time a rumor spreads or gossip starts that proves they are immoral, cowardly, greedy, any of that, it gets coverage. Which is kind of what’s happening here. At least, in those early completely unreliable reports.
The early reports focused less on KRK being a despicable unreliable human being, and more on “Karan Johar pays off reviewers because he can’t stand competition!!!!” Which, frankly, I just don’t believe. Why would Karan Johar need to pay off reviewers? If he really needs good reviews, no need to be crass about it and just hand out money, give them party invitations, exclusive interviews, or just call them up and charm the heck out of them. He’s too smart, and he’s lasted in the industry too long, to be that stupid.
But now some reliable sites have weighed in. Bollywoodhungama‘s view is that KRK was clearly lying about the whole thing, because he likes lying about people to make them look bad, because he is a troll. But that Ajay should keep pushing this, and try to get at the truth and clear out these ugly elements from the industry. And that Ajay is clearly the honest hero of the story, because Ajay has a good reputation around town.
I’ll certainly believe that Ajay is the honest one, because he has a history of being sincerely shocked by “business as usual” practices. Which is what happened the last time he had a Diwali release. His Son of Sardaar went up against Yash Raj’s Jab Tak Hain Jaan, and he was shocked and furious to learn that Yash Raj had used Ek Tha Tiger as leverage to get early commitments from theaters to give their screens to Jab Tak Hain Jaan. He filed a court case against them, which was a terrible terrible move in terms of industry relations (messed up Kajol’s friendship with the Chopra’s for a bit), but it did show that he really believes in fairness and rules and so on.
Rediff, on the other hand, has a slightly different take. They are going with KRK’s statements, where he argues that the recording is false, he was just joking and trying to get off the phone. And, more over, you can also hear in the recording that Ajay’s team might have been considering offering him money.
I believe the recording is false and maybe he was just joking. But I really don’t believe that Ajay’s team was serious about offering him money, because why would they release the recording if that was the case? And also, as said above, Ajay is honest.
Times of India, who isn’t so great always on the analysis, but is good on the actual reporting of news, provides the entire audio and the Ajay Devgan statement. Here’s the statement:
I have been a part of the Indian film industry for the past 25 years and have been associated with over 100 films. My father was a professional action director and I have an emotional connection with this industry.
It therefore pains me to see that people like Kamaal R Khan are holding the film industry to ransom by spreading negativity about films to extort money from producers.
It is very sad that people from our own industry are supporting such elements and spoiling the ethos of the film industry.
I would strongly demand that this be thoroughly investigated by competent authorities to clarify if Karan Johar was indeed involved in this.
So, you ready for my take on this? Based on no additional information, just my opinion?
To me, it looks pretty clear that KRK is the one lying. And the way I read Ajay’s statement, it’s not that he wants proof Karan paid KRK off, it’s that he wants proof Karan DIDN’T, and therefore KRK is lying.
Meanwhile, KRK is dancing around not to cover up a bribe, but to cover up a lie. And to cover up the “real” reason he chose Ae Dil Hai Mushkil over Shivaay. Which, I bet, is because he is a venal petty person and he knew that if he stayed in Karan’s good graces, he could keep getting invites to the good parties and access to the big name stars. Whereas Ajay doesn’t play that game.
I mean, bottom line, I actually think Shivaay had a better trailer than Ae Dil Hai Mushkil!!! It won’t necessarily be a better movie, but the stunts and action scenes in the Shivaay trailer were just mindblowing. That’s just my opinion, but I think most people would agree the two films are pretty close in quality based just on the trailers. For someone to choose one of them over the other, and try to create a competition, that’s clearly just trollish behavior, an effort to stir up controversy and divide the industry into camps. So whether KRK was paid off or not, even if Ajay had never released his statement or the recording, I still wouldn’t like the man! There’s no reason to choose one film over the other, unless you just enjoy making other people angry.