An increasingly ugly war of words has erupted between the legendary darling of old Bollywood and the finest character actor in India today.
The legendary Rishi Kapoor has sprung to the defence of the Bollywood of the past four decades – of prancing around on Swiss hilltops, swirling around trees and bushes and robotic flowers to denote the hero and heroine in a lip-lock – by lashing out against actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui who labelled it all “cliched” and “formulaic”.
In a particularly barbed comment, Kapoor apparently told reporters in Mumbai: “I have read that some actor named Nawazuddin said that romantic heroes just run around trees!
It is difficult to bloody sing songs and romance the heroine. How could he say such a thing?”
The veteran actor, father of Ranbir Kapoor, went further, calling the widely praised Siddique an “average actor”.
“You (Nawazuddin) haven’t done it (running around trees) in your life; neither will you get a chance to do it. And you aren’t capable of doing it either. You don’t have the image; you don’t have the talent”, Kapoor added.
Siddiqui’s response, disappointingly, has been rather muted, saying that he had been “misunderstood”.
“What I meant was that when you do the same thing over and over again, for 30 to 40 years, it becomes easy to follow the same format. Ek hi tarah ka romance… it is all so cliched.
In real life, we see hundreds of romantic couples hanging out at railway stations, bus-stops and other public places.. each one has a different story to tell, it can get complex.”
However, Siddiqui – the scene-stealing star of ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Talaash’, ‘The Lunchbox’ and ‘Bombay Talkies’ – has risen to Kapoor’s challenge: “I will improve myself. If I had to romance in a film, I will do it differently, whether it works or not. I will discover myself; I will explore. There are many interesting ways of doing it.”
Typically for Bollywood though the exchange of pleasantries seems to have ended in an anti-climax: “I respect Rishi Kapoor”, Siddiqui says.
“I am his big fan. If he feels I am an average actor, it is a compliment. Actually, I am below average. He is extremely talented, and I am still trying to be an actor”, he told the Times of India.