The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shah Rukh sorry for spoof

Mumbai, Nov. 16: Shah Rukh Khan today called up Manoj Kumar and apologised to him after the veteran actor went ballistic at the way he had been spoofed in Om Shanti Om.

“I was completely wrong… if he is hurt, I apologise,” the star said at a news conference he called along with Om director Farah Khan.

“I called him in the afternoon and the first thing he said to me was ‘it’s no big deal, son’,” Shah Rukh added, possibly relieved that the veteran had chosen to let the storm blow over.

“His achievements are marvellous. We grew up watching his movies… I have immense respect for him.”

Kumar had taken offence at a sequence in which his lookalike is shown being thrashed by cops outside a theatre. The characters played by Shah Rukh and Shreyas Talpade pinch Kumar’s passes for a movie premiere and the police do not let the veteran in as they do not recognise him.

“I should have been over-careful… I should have called him earlier (to tell him about the spoof),” Shah Rukh said, stressing the intention was not to make fun of Kumar. “He should watch our film.”

Farah had earlier called Kumar and sought permission to use his “body double” but the veteran said he had never thought he would be portrayed with such “disrespect”.

In another scene, a drunk Shah Rukh is shown saying Shreyas is “Manoj Kumar”.

Farah today offered to cut out the theatre scene but Kumar said there was “no need” to do that. “I am to blame for this. I wrote that scene,” she said.

“But there was no intention to show any disrespect to anybody and I am a huge Manoj Kumar fan. It was all done in good humour.”

Shah Rukh said parodies were a “done thing” but Kumar had the right to react as he wished.

Stubbing out a query whether Kumar had over-reacted, he said: “He belongs to a different era. People from that era have a different way of talking. If I were his age, I would react in the same way.”

Yesterday, Kumar’s lawyer Mukesh Vashi had said: “Manoj Kumar has been offended by a certain sequence in the film and he asked me whether any legal action was possible.”

Kumar had earlier said: “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.”

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