Nishi Tiwari (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 18, 2017)

It’s been over four months since Kangana Ranaut caught Karan Johar off-guard on his eponymous chat show by calling him the flag-bearer of nepotism, a “movie mafia” who turns up his nose at outsiders. Back then, the filmmaker, known to revel in his relevance, even in the aggressively youth-centric digital age, seemed to have taken it on the chin even as Kangana’s Rangoon co-star Saif Ali Khan shifted uncomfortably next to her on the couch. “What am I even doing here,” the 44-year-old Nawab had wondered aloud.

KJo would subsequently take to various social media to justify his stance on the subject (pro-film dynasties) while every star kid out to promote a film at the time was asked to pick sides on the raging debate. Recently, just when we thought the storm had died down, the filmmaker resurrected it with a not-so-subtle dig at Kangana with protégé Varun Dhawan and Saif at the recently-concluded IIFA Awards 2017 show. On stage, the trio indulgently reminded each other that they were famous because of their respective parents. The self-deprecatory routine was topped off by Varun’s cheeky rendition of the song, “Bole Chudiyan, Bole Kangana” from KJo’s 2001 family drama, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and the director quipping, “Kangana bahot bolti hai. Vo na hi bole toh achcha hai.” The jibe ended with the chant of “Nepotism rocks!”

In its aftermath, Twitter typically blew up with outrage as users challenged the trio to perform the gag in Kangana’s presence, while several others pulled them up for their seemingly unabashed sense of entitlement. One user went so far as to label them “overgrown kids” and their act “man-tastic.” There are many ways to win your fans over. Waving your silver spoons in their faces is probably not at the top of that list.