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Monday, November 19, 2007
Manoj Kumar is in the news after a long time, for all the wrong reasons. He has gone public with his declaration of hurt and humiliation, due to the way he has been portrayed in Shahrukh Khan and Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om. The senior actor feels that he has been depicted in a bad light.
"By showing a duplicate of mine, and passing him off as the real Manoj Kumar in the scene of the premiere, Shahrukh has actually insulted not only me, but also the citizens of this great country, who consider me Mr Bharat. I am deeply pained by this totally uncalled for act," he said. Apparently, the actor was shocked when he saw the film. And he would not have seen it were it not for his niece in London, who called to ask if he was planning to take any legal action. "More than legal action, I want to take moral action against him. Shahrukh Khan or Farah Khan cannot get away with declaring that it is their creative freedom to show whatever they want. I want Shahrukh to delete all references to me in bad light in the film with immediate effect," he added.
Manoj Kumar specifies that he is all for creative freedom, but a responsible filmmaker would know where to draw the line. He is also upset that SRK seems to have no respect for elders. Says Mr Bharat, "How can he stoop so low to injure my soul by showing a junior artiste who plays my double in the film being beaten up by the cops? Are Mumbai cops nincompoops, who cannot do their job? It is a plot hatched by fundamentalists like Shahrukh and Farah against a respectable Brahmin Pundit like me, for no rhyme or reason, to ridicule and humiliate me. Would they dare to show Dilip Kumar in such bad light?"
The senior actor feels that the scene in which they portray Shahrukh first and then a duplicate as Manoj Kumar is illogical. "I am a six-feet tall pathan. And everybody knows what Shahrukh Khan's height is. Yet I am amused to see that in the film the cops think that the junior artiste Shahrukh Khan is the real Manoj Kumar just because he covered his face, and they throw out the duplicate who plays Manoj Kumar. If today Shahrukh Khan or Salman Khan or for that matter Hrithik Roshan go to see a film in a theatre, do you think the cops or the ushers would not know who they are? I am surprised that even the cops have not contemplated any action against Shahrukh Khan for portraying them in a bad and funny light," he asserts.
Incidentally, Farah had initially asked him to do a cameo in her film, and he was willing, since her father was a friend of his. Apparently, she told him that he would be wasted in the movie, and that she had already shot with a duplicate. The actor clarifies that he is not against duplicates and mimics, and that he admires people like Johnny Lever, but this incident is in bad taste, he adds.
The yesteryear star admits, in conclusion, that he wants Shahrukh to act in a film of his, although he has never met SRK. If SRK likes the script, then Mr Bharat would want him to act in it.