Since Saif Ali Khan’s original apology for the gross remarks he made against Kangana Ranaut at the IIFA Awards this Sunday sent everyone in the country on a crazy punning spree, I feel like Saif purposely decided to keep it going by posting an open letter that’s drowning in biological determinism in DNA India.
His original apology, among other things, used the word eugenics in a way that made it seem like it was a normal and fine thing, and also implied that star kids have better acting genes than other people.
In his new open letter, he cries and stamps his feet and uses more words wrongly while trying to viciously attack journalists and also makes the children of actors seem like a weird genetically modified race of their own. It would be good fun to read if it wasn’t so nauseating.
In this open letter that no one asked for, Saif first takes the time to talk about how he apologised to Kangana Ranaut for his awful remarks, and emphasises that he did so personally, not publicly on social media, and tries to imply that that makes him better than fake people who do apologise on social media or something. So basically, it’s okay to take cheap digs at people who aren’t present at huge award shows in New York, but apologies are best kept classy and private. Kay.
The next order of business for Saif on a Friday was to attack journalists who rightly poked fun at him. He names three media outlets “who made a point of saying that all [he] did was use big words like eugenics and genetics.” In classic uncle style, he singles out one of the women journalists as “the girl from Elle”, and says: “I’m sorry you found words like eugenics in a conversation about nepotism misplaced. Perhaps if you got your head out of the hemline of the actress of the month and read a book, your vocabulary might improve.”
Bro Saif, nobody was complaining that you used big words, the captions that said “Saif knows words” were all jokes. On you, to be specific. They were all laughing at you for making up words like “campism” and using words wrongly, like when you made it sound like eugenics is okay. As Elle pointed out in the article that you clearly read already, eugenics is “improving a population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics”. I know it sounds like a good thing to you, but it is not. It’s what the Nazis were attempting when they tried to kill all Jewish people in an attempt at keeping the Aryan bloodline “pure”. Nobody is saying the film industry is a kind place, but it might be a bit of a stretch to call it Nazi Germany, no?
Saif then tries hard to use the analogy of racehorses to make the case for acting genes or something. Except racehorses are bred for aspects of their physicality, which genetics can actually influence, not their acting abilities, which they simply do not.
He goes on to say that the media is the true flag-bearer of nepotism. I vaguely see what he means. In the age of social media, particularly, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for the children of famous people to lead normal lives, because they’re photographed wherever their famous parents go. Celebrity can be a toxic and over-powering thing for many, and the children of famous people never asked for this. It’s a truly awful example of children being punished for the sins of the father. He also rightly says that actors are soft targets. They are, because that’s the nature of celebrity. It puts you and everything you do in the public eye again and again, and leaves you open in equal parts to vicious criticism and lavish endorsement deals.
His open letter then says that the film industry is an aristocracy, which Saif thinks means “ruled by the best”. He then says it’s also a meritocracy tempered with a democracy (*sigh*). He finally ends up saying that for every star kid in Bollywood, there is also a person who comes from a non-filmy background. Which is weird, because a meritocratic democracy wouldn’t be populated in equal parts by people who inherit their position and people who earn them, and showing a 50-50 split really doesn’t make a case here.
The thing is, even within the range of nepotism and its flag-bearers, there’s something far more sinister about Saif going on about genetics and eugenics and acting genes and superior birth than Karan Johar simply saying that he wants to launch Aryan Khan because he’s his godson and his friend’s son and he loves him.
Our man Saif’s assertions that the film industry is an aristocracy and that an aristocracy is a system where the best rule the rest, and his repeated attempts to make it sound as though star kids receive talent from their parents’ genes and are basically racehorse-esque products of good breeding, show a woeful ignorance of both political science and biology, but they also lay bare what an entitled, bloodline-obsessed stinker he is. Thank god Saif isn’t the real prince of anything, because boy, if he was, that kingdom would be screwed.
You can read the truly noxious and unnecessary open letter here.