190608 Karan Johar
Karan Johar Image Credit: AFP

There was a time when being under the wings of high-profile Bollywood producer and director Karan Johar was a matter of pride, but his cult status seems to have changed dramatically since the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.

Johar has been accused of promoting nepotism and star kids blatantly in his projects. The charge has intensified ever since the self-made actor Rajput was found dead at his residence in Mumbai on June 14.

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As soon as the trailer of ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’ starring Janhvi Kapoor dropped, its producer Johar has been ambushed with online hate and calls for a boycott. Many have been trolling Kapoor’s wooden expressions in the trailer.

Reports have pointed out that the name of Johar’s production house Dharma Productions is missing from the poster and trailer — prompting many to question if the web streaming giant Netflix had distanced themselves from the controversial producer to avoid the movie being adversely affected.

When approached by Gulf News, Netflix India said there is no truth in the story doing the rounds that the credits were removed. "There are no talent or Netflix-specific credits in the trailer either. When the film releases on the service, it will carry every rightful credit relevant, as is the case with all Netflix titles – films or series," a Netflix representative said in a email.

There have been several calls online to boycott this film as a mark of solidarity towards Rajput, who many feel didn’t get his due in the Hindi film industry since he wasn’t born into a movie dynasty.

Gunjan Saxena Jahnvi Kapoor
Janhvi Kapoor in ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’.

Kapoor is late legendary actress Sridevi and producer Boney Kapoor’s daughter. Many have openly declared that they will not watch the film, but will read the book instead.

The film, based on India’s first female combat pilot Gunjan Saxena, was scheduled to release in theatres in April, but due to the pandemic it’s now releasing directly on Netflix on August 12.