Misogyny sells and the latest episode of Koffee with Karan starring up and coming cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul is just another testament to that.
The eponymous talk show hosted by Karan Johar is no stranger to controversy and it is almost a mandate for those who come on the show to indulge in some Grade-A trash-talk. And normally, it’s all acceptable and in good faith for who doesn’t like a bit of gossip and publicity?
But the latest installment of the show had something other than just innocent tittle-tattle and negative banter. It was a sexist and racist dude-fest featuring two brash ‘brats’ (incidentally two of the most coveted male role models among young boys of impressionable age in India) and the brilliantly tactless KJo. Sample some of the statements made by Hardik Pandya in response to questions that themselves were loaded with innuendo.
Q: “Why don’t you ask women their name in a club? What do you talk about, then?”
A: “I like to watch and observe how they (women) move. I’m little from the black side so I need to see how they move.”
Even Pandya, who boasted of having studied till just Class 9, must have known that this was a particularly problematic thing to say. Because well, we have enough evidence to show education and respecting the opposite gender have no correlation whatsoever.
Firstly, creeps ‘watching’ women ‘move’ is the reason why my parents did not want me to go to nightclubs.
If I see Hardik Pandya in a club, I will probably run and hide.
Secondly, the only way that statement is not racist is if Pandya was actually black, or had even a bit of African heritage in his blood.
And what does it even mean to be black and thus ‘needing’ to see how women move? Is that how Pandya sees black people and culture?
The Mumbai Indians player claimed that he was very much influenced by West Indies and that his ‘cool’ attitude was based on the way black men conducted themselves. Johar also referred to him as a ‘boy from the hood’. It’s a wonder how people with so much international exposure can be so insensitive to racism and appropriation.
Maybe the filmmaker should watch the 2017 Oscar winning film ‘Get Out‘ to learn a little something about casual cultural/racial profiling and appropriation.
Moving on to the next shocker. Pandya related how his family is ‘cool’ with his sexual exploits. He revealed how he had informed his family about losing his virginity and that his family was completely okay with all of it.
Great. Open conversations about sex should be the cornerstone of every Indian family. And I would like to believe (as much as I detest the word) that I and a majority of us out there, are not what KJo may call a ‘prude’.
But then, Pandya spoke about a certain party where he had taken his family. The ‘cool’ fam allegedly asked him about his ‘scene’ referring to the women he had hooked up with. And the good son apparently pointed out all his conquests in the party, something he literally enacted on the show.
“This one, that one, that one over there, this one too,” … you get the gist. He added that his family was proud of him for the same. Could it be that being a competitive cricketer, Pandya has started viewing everything in his life as trophies? Like an occupational hassle?
I wish I could wind this piece up here but there’s more. So much more.
When asked who gets her if both Pandya and KL liked the same girl, pat came the response. While KL Rahul, the more metered of the two, said that it was up to the woman to decide, Pandya cut in crassly and said there were no such rules. Whoever could manage to get the girl before the other, won.
If after reading this, you feel that KL Rahul is innocent of all the male-chauvinism that was the USP of the episode, I suggest you watch it carefully. One of Rahul’s friends who appeared on the show called him the perfect ‘wingman’. And that was what he was to Pandya’s misogyny on the show.
While he himself may not have delivered the majority of the crassness, he was very well part of the conversation, gave (in)appropriate responses to his partner-in-crime’s womanising proclamations and in general helped seal the image of two entitled dude-bros who were above boring codes of social conduct (read: respecting women).
The obnoxious references to cheerleaders, boasting about sleeping with women in rooms of teammates, casual references about ‘sharing’ women (teri wali-meri wali) and the rest of it were made as much by KL Rahul, as by his more unfiltered teammate.
The winner of the show, however, was KJo who should really have been the one to take home the hamper this time.
Why, you ask? Well, it was Karan who invited these two young men based on their social profiles. It was Karan who asked the questions that elicited the cringy responses. It was Karan who snickered at all the sexism and it was Karan whose show is trending on the Internet, thanks to exactly the points mentioned above. As we all know, TRPs have no ethics.