Another year, another season of Koffee with Karan, and another controversy. Most of the time, each episode is our boy Karan Johar attempting to get up close and personal with celebrity guests, which-once in a blue moon- results in him getting a reality check on himself (hi Kangna I’m not a fan but you show such a clear picture of the reality that you could do a great job at being the annoying mirror in Snow White). These celebrities have given umpteen interviews that ultimately always boil down to their personal lives- who they are dating, who they dated, when they plan to get married- the list never ends (tbh I admire the confidence these interviewers have, that despite being begged to ask better and relevant questions, somehow always manage to do the snooping around regarding everybody’s personal lives and supply the gossip fodder for celebrity kitty party circles).
KWK mainly thrives off of Karan Johar and all the A-listers that he interviews. However sometimes the producers try to experiment and get guests like Rakhi Sawant. And though she managed to spill quite some tea which is better left unsaid (especially all that talk about Mika Singh- it deserves an entire article of its own), she did not say something that was not expected- her stint on Bigg Boss was enough to show her unfiltered personality.
This season’s experimental guests were K.L. Rahul and Hardik Pandya, two of the nation’s finest cricket players. The trailers for the first all-cricket episode of the show gave a ‘bromance max’ vibe- just two sportsmen chilling and spilling the beans on one another. However, when the episode was finally telecast on January 6th, 2019, one could clearly see how problematic and sexist the comments made on the show were, under the guise of being ‘chaddi-buddies’ and flag-bearers of bromance (wink-wink, Kangna).
We all know a Karan Johar in our lives- someone who gets you to open up and then slyly extracts all the buzz about everybody-including you-from you. And this quality comes into great play when you are hosting a talk show (*adds ‘become a talk-show host to bucket list*). And this resulted in all the questions boiling down to Pandya’s and Rahul’s affairs with fans, cheerleaders, and other women. At one particular instance, as an example of how ‘cool’ his parents were, Pandya began explaining how he shows his parents all the women he has hooked-up with, like they are trophies for his toxic and misogynist attitude- all for a “waah!” from his parents.
And if the sexism and misogyny were not enough, Pandya also managed to make sleazy and racist remarks, such as “I like to watch and observe how women move. I’m a little from the black side so I need to see how they move.”, when asked why he does not ask women for their names in nightclubs. (okay Hardik what were you even thinking? How is it EVER okay to say this? And come on yaar KJo and Rahul wyd? Stop with the annoying giggles and please do yourself a favour and call out his problematic behavior please yaar I beg of you).
Following the outrage over the problematic statements made on the show, BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) asked the Supreme Court for the appointment of an ombudsman who would enquire into the matter. Pending investigation into the matter, the players were called back to India and missed the first two ODIs against New Zealand. While the appointment of an ombudsman was pending, the CoA suggested that the suspension of both Rahul and Pandya could be lifted. While Pandya returned for the New Zealand series, Rahul played his comeback game for India A versus England Lions in Thiruvuananthapuram on January 28th, 2019.
In the meantime, both the players tendered their unconditional apologies to the BCCI, and Pandya also took to social media to apologising for his statements, saying that he got a little “carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect anyone’s sentiments”. Furthermore, Karan Johar also apologized for the conversation that “may have crossed boundaries… 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”.
We began the new year with fan-favourites being called out for their problematic nature. Glass half empty: influential people’s regressive attitudes have an influence over the impressionable youth of the nation. Glass half full: viewers united to slam what’s wrong and started this conversation regarding the some of the nation’s favorite cricketers, calling out sexism and racism everywhere, irrespective of how respected the person(s) in question is(are).