Kamaal R Khan, self-styled movie critic and sudden celebrity, has taken the war that begun on Thursday into Ajay Devgn’s territory. “He doesn’t want to target Karan Johar directly and is shooting from my shoulder,” KRK told the press in Mumbai on Friday.
In a late-night Twitter drama, Ajay Devgn posted a recording of a phone conversation between his associate Kumar Mangat and KRK in which the latter claims that he was paid Rs 25 lakhs by Karan Johar to tweet in favour of his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Ajay Devgn, whose movieShivaay releases on the same day as KJo’s film, also sent out a statement to the press calling for KJo director to be investigated.
Ajay’s statement read: “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 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 industry. I would strongly demand that this be thoroughly investigated by competent authorities to clarify if Karan Johar was indeed involved in this.”
In a tweet, KRK later said that he had made up the 25 lakhs story to fob off Kumar Mangat, who is also heard in the audio clip offering an equal sum for pro-Shivaay tweets.
KRK repeated this in his press conference on Friday evening, saying: “Karan Johar has never offered me money. Kumar Mangat was putting pressure on me and he is a friend. I needed an excuse (to fob him off). Later in the conversation I have said I don’t want money.”
He also attacked Ajay for accusing Yash Raj Films of keeping his film out of cinemas when his Son Of Sardaar clashed with Jab Tak Hai Jaan in 2012, a month after Yash Chopra died. “Ajay Devgn doesn’t have an emotional connection with the film industry, it’s all about money. Yash Chopra had passed away, entire industry asked him to change his dates for Son Of Sardaar and he didn’t,” said KRK.
Karan Johar, the third party in this plot twist like no other, has wisely chosen to not respond. A source told NDTV that he would not be dignifying the matter with a comment.
But Kajol, Ajay Devgn’s wife and once considered a good luck charm by KJo, has commented. In a tweet, she publicly aligned herself against her Kuch Kuch Hota Hai director:
Shivaay is a purely Ajay Devgn show – he stars, directs and produces. Polish actress Erika Kaar and Saira Banu’s grandniece Sayyeshaa Saigal make their debuts. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil stars a glittering cast of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Fawad Khan. Both films are scheduled for Diwali. Kamaal R Khan, who Ajay appears to have credited with a greater degree of legitimacy and agency than he actually possesses, has promised – or threatened – to review both film.