Mumbai, July 22: Actress Kangana Ranaut, who started the nepotism debate by labelling filmmaker Karan Johar as its "flag bearer" during his chat show, says she found the open letter by her "Rangoon" co-star Saif Ali Khan on the subject "disturbing".
A day after Saif shared his views on the debate, Kangana wrote an open letter, published on Saturday in the Mid-day tabloid.
"While I enjoyed some of the perspectives on this subject, I did find a few disturbing ones. This morning, I woke up to one such open letter, written by Saif Ali Khan," she wrote.
"The last time I was deeply pained and upset about this issue was when Karan Johar wrote a blog on it, and even once declared in an interview that there are many criteria for excelling in film business. Talent is not one of them."
Kangana said: "I don't know if he was being misinformed, or simply naïve, but to discredit the likes of Dilip Kumar, K. Asif, Bimal Roy, Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, and many more, whose talent and exceptional abilities have formed the spine of our contemporary film business, is absolutely bizarre."
Before addressing her letter to "Dear friend Saif", she wrote: "My request is that people must not misconstrue this and pit us against each other. This is just a healthy exchange of ideas, and not a clash between individuals."
"In your letter you mentioned that, 'I apologised to Kangana, and I don't owe anyone any explanation, and this issue is over.' But this is not my issue alone."
She said nepotism, "on many levels, fails the test of objectivity and rationale. I have acquired these values from the ones who have found great success and discovered a higher truth, much before me. These values are in the public domain, and no one has a copyright on them."
"So, we owe an explanation to everyone who either owns, or wants to own these values. Like I said, we are the ones who will shape the future of the coming generations."
Referring to another part of Saif's letter, she wrote: "You talked about the relationship between genetics and star kids, where you emphasised on nepotism being an investment on tried and tested genes...I fail to understand how you can compare genetically hybrid racehorses to artistes!"
Are you implying that artistic skills, hard-work, experience, concentration spans, enthusiasm, eagerness, discipline and love, can be inherited through family genes? she asked.
"If your point was true, I would be a farmer back home. I wonder which gene from my gene-pool gave me the keenness to observe my environment, and the dedication to interpret and pursue my interests."
She also said: "You also spoke of eugenics -- which means controlled breeding of the human race. So far, I believe that the human race hasn't found the DNA that can pass on greatness and excellence.
"If it had, we would've loved to repeat the greatness of Einstein, Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Vivekananda, Stephen Hawking, Terence Tao, Daniel Day-Lewis, or Gerhard Richter."
The subtext of all her discussions on this subject has been to encourage outsiders to take the path less travelled, she said in her open letter in mid-day.
"If you don't find acceptance in the mainstream, go off beat -- there are so many ways of doing the same thing," she wrote.
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