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Battle lines

Friday, December 03, 2010

It’s an interesting phenomenon to observe: Rishi Kapoor’s tirade against Karan Johar and the way he allegedly instigated two actresses to make rude remarks against Ranbir Kapoor. Battle lines are drawn, the fight is out in the open via the press (that is enjoying the masala), and everybody is surprised that the usually diplomatic Rishi Kapoor is expressing his anger in public.

The film industry used to have an unwritten code about tact, and although there was obviously a lot of rivalry and rage seething under the surface, very rarely were guts spilled in the streets.

Those who keep track of these things would remember stray instances like the face-off between Amitabh Bachchan and Sharughan Sinha and the professional rivalry between Amitabh and Rajesh Khanna. But except for the gossip magazines fuelling the fire, it never got really ugly. And industry folks say, with their inherited wisdom, that here neither friendships nor enmities are forever.

It’s a relatively new phenomenon, this open bitching and carping between people in the industry. The famous trio of the fifties – Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand – were courtesy personified in public, though, there was the usual role-snatching and barb-throwing happening in private.

The three reigning stars idols today, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, are constantly sniping at each other. They have spats at parties, call each other names, and, frankly provide amusement to readers of gossip and watchers of fluff on TV. Aamir, for instance calls his dog Shah Rukh, which is as rude as it can get.

Some star passes rude remarks about the other’s girlfriend, they come to blows. Ashutosh Gowarikar publicly chides Sajid Khan for his disrespectful comments about his peers at an awards function and it leads to a war of words. Farah Khan makes fun of Manoj Kumar in her film, and he launches an attack on her. The actresses are constantly reported to be having a ‘cold war’, and it seems like a weird and frosty place to be, when it’s supposed to be one big family.

Veterans say that today’s stars aren’t even courteous, forget respectful, never mind all that touching of feet (knees actually) that goes on for show.

Now it’s the industry’s biggest Kapoor dynasty versus the Johar camp. And the bitterness will take a while to subside. For observers, it’s just entertainment.

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