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Naseer faces flak from Twinkle, Karan Johar for attacking Rajesh Khanna; apologizes

The veteran had labelled the ex-superstar a "poor actor", blamed him for the mediocrity that came into Hindi cinema in the 1970s.

Keyur Seta

Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah has made headlines in the past for criticizing legendary actors like Amitabh Bachchan and classic films like Sholay (1975). But he has probably never faced so much flak as he is currently for his in-depth criticism of the late Hindi film star Rajesh Khanna.

During an interview with a leading daily, Shah came down heavily on the actor, Hindi cinema's first superstar in the late 1960s and early 1970s, while speaking about mediocrity in Hindi films.

“It was the 1970s when mediocrity came in Hindi films," he said. "That’s when the actor called Rajesh Khanna joined the industry. 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.”

As expected, his comments created an uproar on social media. Former actress-turned-columnist Twinkle Khanna, daughter of the late actor, expressed her displeasure on Twitter. She wrote, “Sir if u can't respect the living ,respect the dead-mediocrity is attacking a man who can't respond.” She also listed the acclaimed films of Khanna. “All due regard toMrShah's reality,mine=a man who loved cinema& did films likeAnand,AmarPrem,KatiPatang thank u folks for all the love.” 

Khanna received support from filmmaker Karan Johar who also seemed to be upset by the comments made by the A Wednesday actor. “I agree with you @mrsfunnybones…due respect to seniority but this was in exceptionally bad taste and not becoming of a fraternity member.” 

With many comments cropping up against him, Shah apologized for his comments. India Today shared a tweet that read, “I apologise to those who were personally offended, my intention was not to attack him (Rajesh Khanna).”