Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah said that the conversation around late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death in June is ‘absolutely sickening’ and that some people have been using the tragedy to voice their frustrations with the film industry. He also dismissed the insider-outsider debate, calling it ‘bulls***’.
In an interview with India Today Television, Naseeruddin said that ‘every person who has any little frustration’ with the industry has been talking to the media about Sushant. “It is absolutely sickening. I have not followed it. I felt deeply grieved when the young man died. I did not know him but he had a bright future and it was a waste of a life. But I did not bother to follow the nonsense that’s being spouted by a whole lot of people. Every person who has any little frustration in his mind, in his heart, about the commercial industry, has been vomiting it out to the press. It is absolutely disgusting. I mean, keep these complaints to yourself, no one is interested,” he said.
Naseeruddin said that one must let the law take its course: “No one is interested in the opinions of some half educated starlet who decides to take it upon herself to, you know, get justice for Sushant. If there is justice that needs to be done, I think we need to have faith in the process of the law and if it is none of our business, I think we should not concern ourselves with it.”
The insider-outsider debate has also been reignited in the wake of Sushant’s death, with many alleging that he was shunned in Bollywood and lost out on films for being an outsider. Since then, his angry fans have started an online campaign calling for the boycott of star kids.
Naseeruddin dismissed the debate and said, “I don’t understand this insider-outsider nonsense that’s going on. I mean, it’s a whole lot of rubbish and we should be put an end to this, it’s bulls***. Why would not I, who have had a secure happy life as an actor, encourage my son to go into the same profession? Would not an industrialist do it, would not a lawyer do it, would not a doctor not do it? Would not anybody do it? You mean to say that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s descendents should not have become singers?” He added that ‘nepotism gets you to a certain point’, after which it takes talent for survival.
Imaad Shah and Vivaan Shah, Naseeruddin’s sons, are both actors. Imaad has acted in films such as Dil Dosti Etc and Little Zizou, while Vivaan starred in films such as 7 Khoon Maaf and Happy New Year.
Naseeruddin also said that the ‘movie mafia’ does not exist. Most famously, actor Kangana Ranaut has claimed that she was targeted by the movie mafia for speaking up about nepotism. She alleged in a recent interview that the movie mafia ruined her financial prospects, made her a social pariah, killed all her chances of getting married and also tried to destroy her career.
“This is all a concoction of certain imaginative minds, ‘the mafia in the industry’. Naturally, I’ll give preference to people I like and the people who I work well with. If they also happen to be famous, or they happen to be the children of famous people, how the hell is it their fault? There is no mafia. I have not ever felt any obstacle to my work. I’ve made very slow progress over the last 40-45 years in my profession, but I’ve never felt that there’s some obstacle that is preventing me from getting to where I deserve,” the actor said about the existence of a mafia in Bollywood.
Naseeruddin, who has been awarded the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Indian cinema, is also a three-time National Award winner. He was last seen in the Amazon Prime Video series Bandish Bandits.