Bollywood director and actor Divya Khosla Kumar has posted a video rebutting a series of barbs from singer Sonu Nigam, who alleged recently that her husband Bhushan Kumar, the head of entertainment giant T-Series, begged him for protection from gangster Abu Salem over two decades ago.
Sonu Nigam, a popular singer who has been away from mainstream Bollywood in recent years, last week posted a video blog, the second after actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death. He went on a rant about the "cruel" machinations of the music industry and targeted Bhushan Kumar, the son of T-Series founder Gulshan Kumar who was shot dead in 1997.
In his first video, Sonu Nigam had said: "You might soon hear about suicides in the music industry."
Divya Khosla Kumar on Wednesday posted an Instagram video with a point-by-point reply to Sonu Nigam's allegations.
"When tragedy struck T-Series family after the death of Gulshan Kumar, Sonu Nigam thought the company will sink and so he signed up with an obscure music company. He was thankless, he did not think twice about standing with T-Series in a tough time, didn't think about supporting Gulshan Kumar ji's son Bhushan ji, who was only 18 then," Divya Khosla Kumar said in the video.
"Rather he started working with another music company, after which the inexperienced Bhushan ji then used to go to him for small help. Sonu Nigam is now using that phase as a leverage today to hit out at T-Series. Sonu Nigam claims Bhushan ji asked him 'mujhe Abu Salem se bacha lo' (save me from Abu Salem). I want to ask something now, Sonu Nigam ji, why would Bhushan ji come to you to save himself from Abu Salem? I want an investigation. Was there a link between Abu Salem and Sonu Nigam? Yes, definitely there was. That's why Bhushan ji went to him for help. Sonu Nigam himself said in his video that Bhushan ji had come to him for help," Divya Khosla Kumar said.
Sonu Nigam, in his video, had repeatedly requested the alleged "music mafias" to be kind and considerate towards new talent. "It's very difficult for the new kids, very difficult... I speak to every one of them. They are troubled that the producer wants to work with them, the director wants to work, even the music composer wants to work with them but the music company will say: 'This is not our artiste'," Sonu Nigam had said.
Divya Khosla Kumar reacted sharply to the charge. "For the last few days Sonu Nigam has been running a campaign against T-Series and Bhushan Kumar ji. T-Series has helped thousands of creative professionals who are outsiders, not linked to industry, music directors, singers, actors, directors. I have myself given a chance to newcomers. Four of them - Neha Kakkar, Rakul Preet Singh, Himansh Kohli and composer Arko have grown and found success," the T-Series' owner's wife said.
"It is very easy to talk hiding on social media, but how many talent on the ground level have you pushed forward? No one, except yourself. You have not given any chance to anybody new in the industry... And you are blaming us that we don't give a chance to people, when in fact 97 per cent people working in T-Series are outsiders, not industry kids, they have no previous link with the industry. We are always looking for new talent," she said.
"Sonu Nigam says the industry doesn't give a right direction to talent. But you're a legend, I want to ask, you are a big star, how many people have you given a chance till today? You're a big legend and many people must be coming to you for help, like 'Sonu ji mere bete ko madad kar dijiye, hume milwa dijiye T-Series mein'… But you have not even come once saying 'isko chance dedo, yeh bada talent hai', you have never introduced any new talent to the industry, you have never spoken about giving a chance to people," Divya Khosla Kumar said.
"Let me tell you, Sonu Nigam used to sing at Delhi's Ram Lila for five rupees. Gulshan Kumar ji spotted him and saw talent, gave him flight ticket, brought him to Bombay, and said, 'beta I will make you a star'. Now you tell me, Sonu Nigam ji, this was said to you or not? Will you deny it now? Gulshan ji did films with you, took you to great heights, but what did you do?"