In an unfortunate choice of words, Sonu Nigam wrote in to The Times of India to complain about filmi journo Subhash K. Jha’s relentless “Sonu-spanking”. It’s hard to tear myself away from the beautiful vision conjured up by those words, but I’ll try.
In the letter, Sonu not only outed Jha’s sexual orientation but also alleged that Jha was biased against him because he (Sonu) had rejected his (Jha’s) advances:
[H]e is the same guy who has always had overwhelmingly great words of praises for me once upon my time, from my impeccable singing abilities, to my acting prowess, especially in my movie Love in Nepal… So what suddenly happened that today he humiliates me every fortnight in some or the other article in your paper or the others that he writes for?
It’s not a secret in the industry that he is a homosexual. God bless him for homosexuals are normal people with just different sexual preferences, just like men lusting for women is not a taboo. But a man punishing a woman for not complying with his sexual advancement is an issue right? So why isn’t a man imposing upon another man an issue? Isn’t this a free world?
Am I supposed to reciprocate to something that I am not interested in? And do I have to be subjected to this kind of DADAGIRI for no fault of mine?
Jha liked Love in Nepal? Let’s run him out of town! I mean, readers of Hindi movie reviews have long come to accept the idiosyncratic way movies are reviewed in India and there is no one more “idiosyncratic” than Jha – but Love in Nepal? Seriously? Man, lust must be about ten times more blinding than love then.
Turns out, though, it isn’t. Here’s what Jha actually wrote:
The cast is pleasant enough, though neither frightfully glamorous nor charming. With his carefully worked-out look and eyebrow-raised arrogance, Sonu moves many steps ahead of his earlier acting opportunities. The film belongs to Sonu.
[Love in Nepal] isn’t bereft of intelligence. And compared with the other, dark and ugly release this week, it at least spares you the agony of crassness.
As a “glowing review”, methinks it lacks a certain something. But hey, it’s a lot better than some of the things I could have said about that movie so I guess he can be forgiven for remembering those stingy phrases “overwhelmingly great praises”. Either that or Sonu has a low threshold for praise.
However, this seems to have created a mini storm in a teacup: apparently nobody in Bollywood was talking about the male casting couch (although, technically, what’s the point of sleeping with a journo? He can’t get you jobs. I guess he could refrain from trashing your movie but is Jha so powerful that he can keep the audience at bay? I ask coz I’ve never yet agreed with a single review of his).
While I don’t agree with Sonu outing him publicly, if Jha was somehow using his position to make unwelcome sexual advances then obviously that’s wrong. However, it’s interesting to see that while a number of people have come forward to talk about the male casting couch (and one or two to talk specifically about Jha), the issue is sort of vaguely presented with people like Mahesh Bhatt chipping in. Say what?
For all their talk of “industry” and it’s ills, Jha – a journalist who’s only connected peripherally to said industry, with very limited power over the careers of upcoming actors/singers – remains the only one to be directly named. If we’re having an indepth examination of people in the film industry taking advantage of male newcomers, then why not start talking about people who actually make the movies? Producers, directors, financiers, actors, actresses…
On the other hand, here is the article that sparked this whole tempest – It’s A ‘Nosy’ Affair, in which Jha tells Himesh Reshammiya’s critics and rivals (um, Sonu?) to suck it up coz His Himeshness is now a huge freakin’ Movie Star unlike some others he could, and does, mention. Oooh, burn!
Sonu is also known whiner. Here he is whining about Love in Nepal to… Subhash K. Jha.
[PS - above video demonstrating Sonu's heterosexuality is from Love in Nepal]