Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah caused a furore in 2016 when he called late superstar Rajesh Khanna a mediocre actor. Khanna’s fans were hurt by Naseer’s comments and even his daughter, Twinkle Khanna took offence.
Now, in an interview to Anupama Chopra of Film Companion, Naseeruddin said that he realises that perhaps his comments were uncalled for. When asked if he ever considers keeping silent rather than raking up a new controversy, Naseeruddin said, “Sometimes. When I realise, perhaps, I am preaching to the converted. It’s impossible to have a rational argument with a person who has made up his mind. So perhaps the things I said about say, Rajesh Khanna were uncalled for. I overlooked the fact that there are millions who loved him and it must have hurt. I was not making a direct attack at him. I was talking about the system which encouraged and nurtured mediocrity. That was my real intention and unfortunately people took it personally.”
Speaking to Hindustan Times in an interview, Naseeruddin had said, “In fact, it was the 70s when mediocrity came in Hindi films. That’s when the actor called Rajesh Khanna joined the industry. For all his success, I think Mr Khanna was a very limited actor. In fact, he was a poor actor. Intellectually, he wasn’t the most alert person I have ever met. His taste ruled the industry.”
Naseeruddin said that he did apologise to Dimple Kapadia, Rajesh’s wife. “Anyway, the only person I really care about who was hurt was Dimple and I apologised to her for hurting her feelings. But I also said I do not take back my word,” he said.
“And about Virat Kohli, I don’t take anything back nor about any of the others,” he added. Naseeruddin had called Virat the “world’s worst behaved player” in a Facebook post. “Virat K is not only the worlds best batsman but also the worlds worst behaved player. His cricketing brilliance pales beside his arrogance and bad manners. And I have no intention of leaving the country by the way,” he had written.
Last year, he had also called Anupam Kher a ‘clown’. Talking about Anupam’s social media activity on government policies and social issues, he said in an interview, “Someone like Anupam Kher has been very vocal. I don’t think he needs to be taken seriously. He’s a clown. Any number of his contemporaries from NFD and FTII can attest to his sycophantic nature. It’s in his blood, he can’t help it.”
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