Friday, November 16, 2007

SRK apologises to Manoj Kumar

Press Trust of India, Friday, November 16, 2007: (Mumbai):

Offended by a sequence in recently-released film Om Shanti Om, yesteryear actor Manoj Kumar is contemplating a legal action against the fim's makers.However, Shah Rukh Khan tendered an unqualified apology to Manoj Kumar for the sequence in the film.

"Manoj Kumar has been offended by a certain sequence in the film, and he asked me whether any legal action was possible," Kumar's lawyer Mukesh Vashi said. "However, I myself haven't seen the film. So, I would be able to advise him only after seeing it," Vashi added. Kumar told a TV channel that "Indian audiences had made Manoj Kumar into an icon; that icon has been wounded, made fun of; a moral action is more important than a legal action." Om Shanti Om, released last week, is a spoof on Bollywood films of 70s, and shows a few real-life film characters from the Mumbai film world. Kumar is reportedly angry about a sequence in which he has been shown being thrashed by policemen outside a theatre. In the movie, Khan's character steals Kumar's pass to enter a movie premiere, and police, not recognising Kumar, beat him.

Khan is also a co-producer of the movie, directed by Farah Khan. Khan said "I was completely wrong. If he is hurt, I apologise. I called him in the afternoon, and the first thing he said to me was "it is no big deal, son," Khan told reporters.

"People do parody. It is a done thing," Khan said, adding Manoj Kumar had every right to say anything to him. A look-alike has played Kumar in the movie, Khan's home production. In a hastily called press conference, Khan said "I should have been over-careful. I should have called him earlier (to tell him about the spoof)."

Farah Khan, who was also present, said "I am to blame for this. I wrote that scene."
About Kumar's remark that it was unpatriotic on OSO producer's part to make fun of him, Khan said "I think he did not mean it. He was angry." When asked whether Manoj Kumar was over-reacting, Khan said it was not so. "He belongs to a different era. People from that era have a different way of talking. If I were old, I would react in the same way," Khan said. "His achievements are marvelous. We grew up watching his movies. I have immense respect for him", the younger actor said.

"Tomorrow, we will go his place and have a cup of tea," Farah said. Farah said she offerred to cut the scene when she called Major Kumar but he said there was no need.

Earlier, an emotional Major Kumar had told reporters that "Shahrukh has hurt my soul. Manoj Kumar was made into icon of India by the audiences. By making fun of him, Shahrukh Khan has wounded him." He had also consulted lawyers as to whether any legal action was possible.

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