Karan Johar recalls how film industry got together in 2020 to stop ‘Bollywood bashing’ by media

Karan Johar, in a recent exclusive interview with THE WEEK, opened up about how Indian film bodies and studios joined hands to put an end to the ‘Bollywood bashing’ by the media in 2020.

Pointing out that it is difficult to bring all stakeholders to the table, Johar told the magazine: “I think the industry comes together when we have a reason to. Of course there are times I do feel we can come together more often, just for a show of unity. Somehow it is difficult to rally the entire industry for one cause.

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“But we did, during the pandemic, we did come together against certain news channels who were saying inappropriate things against us and Bollywood was being bashed. We all got together and the Bollywood bashing stopped. It was ridiculous, we being collateral damage for no reason,” he explained.

In October 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, four film associations and 34 film studios, including Johar’s, moved the Delhi High Court against certain media houses to “refrain them from making irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood as a whole or members of Bollywood, and to restrain them from conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities”.

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These included the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, The Cine & TV Artistes Association, Indian Film and TV Producers Council and Screenwriters Association, besides companies owned by actors and directors like Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Ashutosh Gowariker, Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, Rakesh Roshan, Kabir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aditya Chopra.

Media houses and personalities named in the lawsuit included Republic TV, Times Now, Arnab Goswami, Pradeep Bhandari, Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar.

The lawsuit stemmed from the allegations of drug abuse, nepotism, toxic work culture and debauchery levelled against Bollywood personalities following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June 2020. The suit asked the TV news channels to abide by the provisions of the Programme Code and to withdraw all such defamatory content published by them.

“They [the channels] are targeting specific individuals with the malicious intention of damaging their reputation in the eyes of the public, invading the private lives of various persons in the industry and dragging their personal lives into the public domain, and trying to show it in a completely false light across the board,” the petition had said.