There is no doubt that Naseeruddin Shah is an actor par excellence but being someone who is widely respected for his craft does not mean one gets the right to insult anyone they please. Shah did just that when he called yesteryear’s superstar the late Rajesh Khanna a “limited actor”.
In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Shah said that Rajesh Khanna brought mediocrity in Hindi films with his arrival.
“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,” says Shah.
He went on his denigration of the legendary superstar whose record of blockbusters stands unmatched to this day by saying that the “quality of script, acting, music and lyrics deteriorated” with his arrival. “Colour came in. You could make a heroine wear a purple dress and hero a red shirt, go to Kashmir and make a movie. You didn’t need a story. This trend continued and I certainly think Mr. Khanna had something to do with it because he was God in those days,” Shah said.
Twinkle Khanna objected to the uncharitable remarks against her father and took to Twitter reminding Naseeruddin Shah what “mediocre” means.
She received support from Karan Johar, whose grandfather, the actor I.S. Johar, was a contemporary of Rajesh Khanna’s.
Many on Twitter also found Shah’s comment offensive.
Perhaps Naseeruddin Shah has forgotten that Rajesh Khanna’s films are considered cult classics. It was Khanna who redefined the meaning of romance on the silver screen. India’s first superstar in true meaning of the word, Khanna is the only actor in the history of Indian film industry to have delivered 15 consecutive solo superhits, which were released between 1969 and 1971. Rajesh Khanna still defines an age and era that is hailed as the Golden Age of Bollywood. Of course Shah too has to his credit some very fine classics, including ‘Khuda Kay Liye’, the critically acclaimed Pakistani movie. Yet no one can deny that the comment he made on Rajesh Khanna is absolutely disgusting.