Naseeruddin Shah has clarified that his statements on late actor Rajesh Khanna were never withdrawn. He further elaborated that while Khanna was a ‘limited’ actor, his talent was used by the industry and only cast aside when he was no longer the ‘a money-minting machine’. Speaking at a masterclass organised by Neville Tuli of Osianama on Tuesday evening, Shah spoke about his controversial statements on Khanna made weeks ago.
In the 2-hour session, Shah elaborated on how a ‘use-and-throw‘ approach plagued Bollywood, that was faced by several members of the fraternity. “The start of plagiarism in Hindi movies began in the early 70’s – the mediocrity in music, script writing, story-telling, acting everything. Who were the popular stars of the 70’s apart from Mr. Khanna? Joy Mukherjee, Biswajeet Chatterjee. Does anybody remember these gentlemen? They were very big stars. There was also Jeetendra. The trinity of Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar was on the wane. The film industry needed a new icon and Rajesh Khanna filled that role. The fact is, the industry created him, used him and cast him away when he was no longer a money-minting machine,” he said.
Last month, Shah, in an interview with Hindustan Times, called Khanna an actor who brought mediocrity to Bollywood. “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,” he said, facing a wave of criticism beginning from Khanna’s daughter Twinkle to Karan Johar.
— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) July 23, 2016
When asked about the flak he received last month, Shah clarified that he was merely adhering to his opinion. “If you speak your mind, there is nothing wrong with it. I suppose one should be, at times, a little diplomatic. That is what I have been told. But I don’t see the merit in that. I think one should say what one feels and if you have ended up offending somebody then that is just too bad,” he added.
Shah has seldom shied away from speaking his mind. The actor had made news after he spoke of the (ir)relevance of acting schools and how they were farcical attempts at making money instead of actually imparting knowledge. “There are no acting teachers in the country, they are all shams, they are all frauds and I have no hesitation in saying this. All these people running acting schools are absolute and utter frauds, they are fooling the kids who come to them and teach them nothing,” said Shah in an interview.
In the past, prior to these statements, Shah also spoke of the ‘poison‘ of 100-crore clubs, where films were being made in a bid to earn money as opposed to tell stories. Strangely enough, the actor has acted in a number of commercial films such as Welcome 2 and Teraa Surroor, that have had nothing to offer other than the quintessential Bollywood masala. Shah had, however, once confessed to why he sometimes resorts to being in such films. “Everybody asks about satisfaction. There’s something called financial satisfaction as well,” he said in an interview with Rajeev Masand.
Meanwhile, Naseeruddin Shah ended his masterclass with a clarification, “I apologised to his (Khanna’s) family because I can understand their feelings. I have not apologised to anybody else nor have I withdrawn that statement.”
Photo Credits: IANS and YouTube