Director and producer Karan Johar is one of India’s leading voices in the entertainment space and he’s making himself heard. Johar was one of the panelists at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos that discussed, very aptly, ‘Can we avoid the spread of so-called 'culture wars?’ His co-panelists included renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Alice Bah Kuhnke, Minister for Culture and Democracy of Sweden and Arlie Russell Hochschild, Professor of Sociology at the University of California.
Speaking on the subject, the director said, "You cannot enforce culture or imbibe it. There are immense economic and social problems, but sometimes the main papers and politicians don't talk about them because they are focused on a film. It's empowering to the film industry, but it's ridiculous." Karan even recounted the time when he was accused of being a ‘non-Indian’ for casting a Pakistani actor in his film. The incident he referred to was when his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil featured Pakistani superstar Fawad Khan who happened to be a heartthrob in India as well after his debut film Khoobsurat. Karan said, "Art should not have boundaries but then culture and patriotism is thrown at the artists."
Karan Johar rebuked Alice Bah Kunke when she said that one needs to be very tolerant. He said, "There is a risk that tolerating intolerance in others can be misconstrued as validation."
The annual event at Davos was attended by iconic Indian personalities including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan who received the Crystal Award that celebrates his work among acid victims. The four-day long event will end on January 26.