Naseeruddin Shah’s comments on superstar Rajesh Khanna are still inviting the ire from Bollywood folk. Latest to speak his mind on the issue was screenwriter and father of Salman Khan, Salim Khan. The Sholay screenwriter went on to call Naseeruddin Shah frustrated and bitter, and also said that the veteran actor holding a grudge for so long was unheard of. I told him I have seen bigger crowds many times outside Rajesh Khannas house. He was the first and the last superstar of the millenium. Anyone calling him a mediocre actor should know that no one can reach these heights unless he has something extraordinary to offer. Frustration and bitterness are difficult to cure but carrying the same for such a long time is unheard of. Before this, Naseeruddin Shah in an interview to a leading publication house had said, “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.” To which daughter Twinkle Khanna retorted with, “Have some respect for the dead.” Even ex-wife and actor Dimple Kapadia gave a poised response, “I just want to say that while I understand that everyone has the right to their own opinion, the man’s career and legacy speak for him. I don’t need to over-emphasise his accomplishments or what he has done for Hindi cinema. You know them, I know them, millions of his fans know them as well.”
Naseeruddin Shah had even apologised for his comments stating that he was talking about a phase in Bollywood, and not a particular person. However, it seems Salim Khan couldn’t help but seethe with anger.