Rajesh Khanna was a poor actor, says Naseeruddin Shah

Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi
Jul 23, 2016 05:38 PM IST

Actor Naseeruddin Shah believes that late actor Rajesh Khanna’s entry in Bollywood changed the way films were made, but not for good.

Naseeruddin Shah is someone who is never afraid of speaking his mind. The veteran actor blames late actor Rajesh Khanna for introducing mediocrity in Hindi films in the 1970s.

A still from Rajesh Khanna’s 1970 film Kati Patang.(YouTube grab)
A still from Rajesh Khanna’s 1970 film Kati Patang.(YouTube grab)

“Nothing has changed in Bollywood. It is the same as it was 50 years ago. The photography and editing is better but the subjects are as puerile as they were in the 70’s,” says Naseeruddin Shah.

Read: Bollywood stars should stay away from short films, says Naseeruddin Shah

“In fact, it was the 70’s when mediocrity came in Hindi films. 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,” says Shah about Khanna, who gave hits such as Aradhana (1969), Haathi Mere Saathi (1971) and Anand (1971).

Actor Rajesh Khanna died in 2012. (HT photo)
Actor Rajesh Khanna died in 2012. (HT photo)

Shah says that it was during the 70’s that the industry became less content driven. “The quality of script, acting, music and lyrics deteriorated. 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,” says the 67-year-old actor.

Read: Indian acting schools are frauds and shams, says Naseeruddin Shah

The new generation of actors, too, don’t impress Shah much. “Where are they? Please tell them to put their hands up and I would like to interrogate them. They claim they love cinema, but what do they create? People who just snap their fingers and choose any project they want are insecure. The guys who are financially secure for the coming ten generations are mostly insecure and they will not dare step out of line,” he says.

Watch Naseeruddin Shah in his recent short film:

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    Yashika Mathur writes on Bollywood and television, for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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