The battle zone has shifted.
After Amitabh Bachchan's much-publicised battle with Shah Rukh Khan ended with Bachchan and son Abhishek making special appearances in Shah Rukh's Om Shanti Om, now the media is reporting a new Bachchan-Khan feud.
And this time the adversary is Aamir Khan.
What got the Big B's goat was Aamir's rather unflattering take on Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black, which Bachchan starred in.
Aamir, in an interview to tabloid Mumbai Mirror, said of Black, 'I didn't like the film. I found it very insensitive, it sends out very wrong signals. It was extremely manipulative. I could see the effort in the manipulation, and the art of the director is in not letting you see the manipulation.'
'The sensibility wasn't right for me, I couldn't make out if they were living in a house or a museum or a library or a church. The performances were over the top,' he added.
But aesthetics aren't all Aamir had an issue with. 'Most importantly, it was about a child who had these problems, an alcoholic person comes and says you have to leave her alone with me for forty days, and he slaps her around. I don't know of any parent who'd agree to that. Black reminded me of The Taming Of The Shrew, and I found that very disturbing. It was a film about 'I can teach a bear how to dance.''
Don't Miss: Black, the special section
Bachchan, who won a National Award for his work in Black, hit back the very next day in an interview to Mumbai publication Mid-Day. ''If Aamir is unhappy with this, let him demonstrate otherwise. I would be keen and anxious to educate myself on any prospective change that he might introduce to cinema.'
'With due respect, all the films that he features in and that I have had the great pleasure in watching, have all adhered to the very qualities that he dislikes in Black. From using the distinct handicap, or to be politically correct, challenged condition, of a crippled human in his cricket team in Lagaan, to the 'sensitivities' of a blind girl in Fanaa,' Bachchan said in the interview.
Bachchan admitted Aamir had expressed his misgivings about Black to him. 'He had issues, he said. He told me the film did not work for him because he disagreed with the voice-over of Rani as soon as the film started. The argument being, if the girl is deaf, dumb and blind how can she have a voice-over! Till date, I have not been able to understand that remark. Maybe you can.'
Asked to comment on Aamir's statement about the performances being over-the-top, Bachchan shot back, 'I cannot comment whether my performance was towering or not, but Aamir may be right on the other, maybe the performances did go 'over the top' of his head!'
With such industry stalwarts fighting this bitterly, we must ask: whose side do you take? Tell us.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh