Salim-Javed criticise Naseeruddin Shah for calling Rajesh Khanna a mediocre actor

Naseeruddin Shah’s comments about the first superstar of Bollywood ‘Rajesh Khanna’ displeases many.

The latest Bollywood celebrity to criticise Naseeruddin Shah is Lyricist-scriptwriter Javed Akhtar.

“It’s simple – Naseeruddin Shah does not like successful people. I have never heard him praise any successful person. He criticises Dilip Kumar; he criticises Amitabh Bachchan,” said Akhtar.

Earlier, Salim Khan (father of Salman Khan, and Javed Akhtar’s script writing partner) had also criticised Naseeruddin shah.

“An actor passed my house and saw a big crowd waiting for Salman he called me up to say he has not seen anything like this before. I told him I have seen bigger crowds many times outside Rajesh Khanna’s 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,” said Salim Khan.


So what did Naseeruddin Shah actually say?
Although Naseeruddin Shah is successful in commercial cinema today, back in the 80s, he used to be India’s face in parallel cinema (along with Shabana Azmi, who happens to be Javed Akhtar’s wife).

Actor Naseeruddin Shah is known to speak his mind, and usually is very critical about the way Bollywood functions. His latest remark has angered a few Bollywood celebrities, and a lots of Bollywood fans

Rajesh Khanna is believed to be the first ever superstar of Bollywood, with a tremendous fan-following that was never seen until then.

However, despite being an actor, his stardom was not about acting at all. That’s what Naseeruddin Shah believes.

And Mr. Shah also thinks that the late Rajesh Khanna was responsible for bringing in mediocrity to Bollywood. It started in the 1970s, and unfortunately things are the same, even today (50 years later).

Says Nasser, “Rajesh Khanna was a very limited actor and his ruling the industry made the industry less content-driven. Besides, with the introduction of colour (and departure of black-and-white cinema), plots became less significant. And with Khanna at the top, the trend continued.”

Some time back Naseeruddin Shah had also passed a similar comment about Superstar Amitabh Bachchan: “He’s extremely gifted, but he’s a commodity. He’s not an actor.”

Most brilliant Indian actors, who were once part of parallel film cinema probably have this grudge against popular actors (superstars). What they actually mean is that the superstars could have used their clout to help Bollywood create better movies but instead chose to go with the flow.

“Salman sir told me don’t act much. Just learn dance. And he also told me that jeans and boots should be fine,” superstar Salman Khan’s advice to Sooraj Pancholi.
(I guess this is what Naseeruddin is referring to, when he laments about the quality of films in Bollywood)

Obviously Twinkle Khanna, (daughter of Rajesh Khanna & wife of superstar Akshay Kumar) is not impressed. “Sir if you can’t respect the living, respect the dead – mediocrity is attacking a man who can’t respond @NaseerudinShah.”


Twinkle Khanna found support from Bollywood’s top filmmaker Karan Johar who said that the remark from shah was in bad taste.


Dimple Kapadia (Rajesh Khanna’s wife) REACTS to Naseeruddin Shah’s comment
Dimple Kapadia said, “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.”

Dia Mirza, who made her Bollywood debut with Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein in 2001, and who’s currently a film producer says talent is not valued in the Indian film industry.
“There is no value of talent in Bollywood. One gets a job due to profiling. To hit or being flop of films is the base of your report card. And, when it’s the base for the industry, then it’s quite impossible to reach the goal,” Dia on a chat Show.

Now that you’re done reading the entire thing, do ponder over these points:

  1. Even though there are many who say that filmmakers should not focus on how much money a film makes (300 crores and so on), the reality is that its going to be the driving factor for most big-budget films in the future, and the same goes for stars.

    Right now, its the penny count and footfalls that matter more in the film Industry (I guess its true of most industries nowadays, including the education industry).

    So a movie grossing hundreds of crores may not be a great movie (as per critics), and the same goes for the stars as well. The biggest stars with huge fan following, may not necessarily be the greatest actors.

    But they all have a strong marketing/PR team working for them!

  2. Another point is…should people from a particular fraternity say only things that are politically correct (and in the case of Bollywood, part of the mutual admiration society)…referring to Karan Johar’s comments?

    Besides, Naseeruddin Shah feels that his fame as an actor (however little, compared to the superstars) is not because of Bollywood, but because of his association with parallel cinema.

  3. Naseeruddin shah is considered to one of the finest actors of India, and so when someone like him talks about the acting abilities of another actor, who’s going to analyze his views on acting?

    So what do you guys think?