Even as things seem to be heating up further in the Shah Rukh Khan-Farah Khan fracas, another war of words has erupted in Bollywood.
Who’s fighting whom, now?
This time, the protagonists are Salman Khan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Hrithik Roshan.
At a charity function recently, Khan attacked Bhansali’s super-expensive “Guzaarish”, reportedly saying that the film was so boring that nobody went to see it – not even insects, employing a colourful Hindi idiom.
And when a fan asked what he thought of the film, he reportedly said, "Not even a dog went to see that movie," adding that he didn't want to do the film, that he was happy with "Dabangg," this Eid's box-office hit. Could it have been a case of sour grapes?
So how did they react?
To this Bhansali retorted, "If such an old and trusted friend can be so insensitive I don't want anything to do with the entertainment industry."
Meanwhile, Roshan, whose career is under a cloud after the film tanked at the box office, told the Mumbai Mirror, "It's not heroic to laugh or make fun of a filmmaker just because his box-office collections are not up there with yours. ‘Guzaarish’ is a super success in its own way. And I will be hurt if anyone talks like this about Mr Bhansali. In my opinion a hero never gloats. When you are super successful, it should in fact make you more gracious and loving."
But surely Salman’s jealous?
Probably, say insiders. One tale doing the rounds of the Indian media posits that Bhansali was inspired to start work on “Guzaarish” after Salman gifted him a DVD of Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige”. But when the director started the film, he cast Roshan instead of Khan to star opposite his chosen lead actress, former Miss World Aishwarya Rai -- whom Khan was seeing for several years, a period Rai has referred to as a "nightmare".
Bhansali and Khan have been a successful team in the past: Bhansali made his directorial debut movie “Khamoshi: The Musical” with Salman Khan in 1996. The film was a box office flop but won many awards. So Bhansali made his second film, “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” (1999) again with Salman Khan opposite Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
But since Khan and Rai broke up, it is an open secret in Bollywood that the former Miss World will have nothing to do with the beefy actor.
The fact that they would have no chemistry on screen led the filmmaker to settle on Roshan. So perhaps Khan is upset that one of his ideas was used for another actor -- even though he is said to consider Roshan a younger brother.
What do experts say?
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh is of the opinion that this issue needs to be sorted out behind closed doors and not in the media. "After all they have been good friends once and it's not going to be difficult for them to sit and sort it out across the table. Salman is known the joke around and say things in a lighter vein. He is bindaas. At the same time, Bhansali is overtly sensitive about his movies. Hrithik and Salman, too, have been great friends and it would be fun to watch the two of them in a movie together."
Will they forgive and forget?
Roshan, who is an old friend of Khan and considers him a mentor, asked the actor to be more humble in life.
He appeared to be the bigger man, though, adding: "By the time I finish this sentence, I have already forgiven his words, because I know deep inside he only has love for me and this must have been just a momentary lapse of judgement. Will expect a big hug the next time I meet him."