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I apologized to his family but have not withdrawn that statement: Naseeruddin Shah on Rajesh Khanna controversy

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A few days back Naseeruddin Shah gave a controversial statement on veteran superstar, late Rajesh Khanna, stating that the latter was a 'poor actor.' Naseer's remarks drew him a lot of flak from the fraternity. Even Rajesh ji's daughter Twinkle and his ex-wife Dimple Kapadia lambasted Naseer for his 'insensitive comments about a deceased man.'

Recently, at a packed masterclass organized by Neville Tuli of Osianama at Liberty cinema in Mumbai, Naseer did not hesitate to elaborate on his heavily sensationalized statement on Rajesh Khanna. As per reports in a popular daily, Naseer was in no mood to bow down or go back on his words!

“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”, the actor elaborated.

Upon being asked if ‘use and throw’ was the general nature of the industry, Shah responded, “Had Mr. Khanna been more on his guard, he could have prevented this from happening.”

Reacting to the widespread backlash he had been subjected to, Naseer said, “Everybody who has got upset with what I said, none of them has contradicted what I said. They all said, ‘How can you say a thing like this. Have some respect for the dead.’ What respect did the film industry have for Rajesh Khanna when he was alive is my question. He had thousands of people outside his bungalow. Does that make him a great actor? So anybody who has thousands of people outside his bungalow is a great actor is that what you are trying to say.”

Shah was then contradicted with the argument of performances of Khanna in films such as Aradhana and Anand being critically acclaimed, to which he retorted, “Certainly. I am not denying that. I am talking about his contribution by and large. I loved his performance in Anand and I loved his performance in Aradhana. These are the two films of his which I can certainly say I like without any reservations. I don’t think I liked any others.”

Naseer also justified his right to an 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 asserted.

Also clarifying on his much-publicised apology, he posited, “I apologized to his family because I can understand their feelings. I have not apologized to anybody else nor have I withdrawn that statement.”

Giving birth to another round of controversy Naseer ji?​

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So what are you apologizing for then anyway?

Mr. Shah talks as if he is the final authority on what is good/bad in film industry. Just his opinion. Not everyone has to agree with him.

No he doesnt talk like that, people get offended by his opinions as if he is the final authority on good/bad acting.

If Naseeruddin Shah is so open to analyze work of others, he should not have any problem criticizing his own son. Maybe he can advise him that is has no talent and should give up on acting.

He was super star for a reason... Obviously the other actors will feel jealous since they equally work hard and don't get recognition as expected...it's simple ,Naseeruddin is good actor no doubt but he doesn't have a star appeal... Rajesh Khanna definetly had star appeal.

This guy always sounds so bitter and pessimistic when it comes to the Star bracket and mainstream cinema... For every A Wednesday he has, there's a Welcome Back for it. Get off your high horse sir you're a phenomenal actor but even you to play the commercial film game.

I second him. Perhaps 50 years down the line, people who come after us, will be criticizing the "brainless masala movie era' in the bollywood, and these trashy formula films were done by some of the biggest superstars of the current Bollywood e.g. Akshay, SRK, Ajay, etc.

He is right. Those talentless popular stars made BW a joke. 99% of movies are without substances. You can see Iranian movies are getting Oscars and Cannes main awards, although they face a cencorship system and many other restrictions like hijab but the only thing BW industry is proud of, is showing meaningless movies at Cannes where no one will see it except the filmmakers or being proud of its actresses playing sexy dolls in HW's 3rd class movies and fight over who made India known in the Cinema world!!
Naseer never got what he deserved in this corrupt industry where only talentless actors rule.

Rajesh Khanna did attempt other types of cinema too from the typical escapist fare of the 70s. Life was harder then, nobody wanted to watch actors in 'rhona dhona' realistic cinema . Rajesh was ignored not because he was a bad actor but because of his ego. He let success go to his head , started thinking he is above everyone & behaved like an ass. Heroines accused him of blocking the camera & cutting up their dialogues. His people flattered him instead of telling him off . When his movies flopped , people were thankful that they did not have to put up with the obnoxious , rude behaviour anymore. And he started hitting the bottle hard when he was replaced by Amitabh Bachchan. It's fun watching old Joy Mukherjee & Biswajeet movies with lovely music where you know it will all come out well in the end.

Absolutely agree with him. Btw he shouldn't have apologized to those entitled family who were nowhere in the last decade of his life. He was living with his longtime partner whom they kicked out as soon as he passed n sold his bungalow.

Who were the popular stars of the 70's besides Rajesh Khanna?? Ummm, have you forgotten AMITABH BACHCHAN?!!! The Angry Young Man?!! After Anand, he got bigger and bigger and his popularity eclipsed that of Rajesh Khanna!! Even today he is so popular. Naseer has always seemed bitter and jealous of Big B.


I agree Mr Khanna was NOT a good actor but a lucky one.

this interview seems uncontroversial compared to his last one where he spoke so generally and only of the negative.

Naseer is an intelligent and ahead of time actor for Bollywood. Bollywood is for callus, liars , selfish and self centred morons. Bollywood don't have apathy, integrity or morals.For very same reasons Kamal Hasan stop working in the Hindi industry. This hero worshipping started from 1970. Naseer has a valid point. The family which is taking so much offence now, were absent from Mr. Khanna's side in his worst time. Problem is people have lost ability of rational thinking. this is the reason why person like Salman khann is god to them! Why Naseer hiting his head against the wall?

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