The hypocrisy of Bollywood. Unless you have been living under a rock or simply have a real “life” (unlike me), you would know that one of the biggest stars in the Hindi movie firmament has been caught, with his pants down, in a sting operation where he was “allegedly” shown asking a starlet for certain “acts” in exchange for some career advancement.
The actor, in question, is the suave, polished, style-icon Shakti Kapoor who has, throughout his long and illustrious career, straddled the Indian screen like a colossus. For those who are not familiar with Shakti Kapoor’s “body” of work, he first burst onto celluloid as the stammering “Atak Gya Atak Gya” co-star of Amitabh Bachchan in “Satte Pe Satta”. From that time on, he went from strength to strength, establishing himself as one of Bollywood’s most cerebral actors dripping class in roles as diverse as Nandoo Tumhara Bandoo in Raja-babu (where his chaddi-nara antics matched Sharon Stone’s leg-play in Basic Instinct– the picture above with Govinda and Karishma is from that movie) , the village bumpkin in Tohfaa whose “Aooooooo” wolf-whistle sent female hearts a-flutter, and the perverted villain in Chalbaaz whose “Lolitaaaaaaaaa” and “Balllllma” was the last word in terror.
After a spectacular career in filmdom, Shakti Kapoor devoted himself to the service of the nation as a Congress party-worker campaigning ceaselessly for the party’s success in the elections. (to the left is a picture of him after joining the Congress party). He quickly made his mark as an as astute political observer and a champion of woman’s rights when he made the following statement:”
” I have raped only once or twice in my movies. Then too I kept laughing. It is so funny to rape a girl”.
However, there has been the odd controversy and sour moment in his otherwise glittering career—like the time he left an entire Airbus load of passengers standing for half-an-hour with his tantrums or the time he was beaten up in Kidderpore when he had Biriyani and did not pay for it—but as they say what’s the moon without its blemishes?
Which brings me, at last, to the monstrosity which has sought to besmirch his career. A female reporter, Tehelka style, had been asking Shakti-ji for a role and Shakti Kapoor, who has always promoted fresh raw virginal talent, asked to meet her in a hotel room. Nothing sleazy there. What transpired after that is “Rashomon-like’—–one side of it is the girl’s story (also captured on videotape) and the other side is Shakti Kapoor’s story.
According to the girl and the videotape, Shakti Kapoor came onto her with the patented line:
‘If you are with Shakti Kapoor, no-one can touch you… if you are tired I will give you a massage.”
“Aaooo sharmao mat” (Don’t feel shy)
And then asked her for sex in exchange for a “break”. He also accused Subhash Ghai, Yash Chopra and Yash Johar of similar “couch tests” and Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee and Priety Zinta of having slept with these people.
According to Shakti Kapoor, (this story sounds far more plausible) this girl had been SMS-ing him for months, threatening suicide if he didnt meet her (after this which gentleman could refuse?—if she had died, the same press would have come double hard after Shakti Kapoor—ok maybe the wrong phrase in this context) and then going to the hotel room, talking dirty to the great man, offering him alcohol (or as Michael Jackson calls it “Jesus Juice“) , pouring drinks on herself (ala “Wild Things”) and in short, seducing him to such an extent that only Ricky Martin and Keanu Reeves could have controlled themselves. Of course, none of that is in the tape—the bastards had edited all of it out.
Conspiracy here? Of course. Firstly as Mr Kapoor pointed out if he had gone to that room looking for sex, why did he have a briefcase? Did Narasimha Rao go looking for sex when he had the briefcase with him ? No. Same with Shakti Kapoor. Secondly, let’s look at the person who perpetrated the sting operation. Suhaib Ilyasi, the man behind “India’s Most Wanted, has been suspected of murdering his own wife and is no saint himself. Thirdly, BJP (which has been on the receiving end of a few sting operations themselves and who claim that the Tehelka videos are “doctored”) have gone to town with surprising alacrity which suggests there is more here than meets the eye. Fourthly, the producers and actresses named by him as having been predators and prey have condemned him brutally (these people were his best friends the other day) and have decided to get him banned from the actor’s guild. (Why? For using his constitution-given right of free speech?)
Well why do I think that this is all made-up? Firstly Shakti Kapoor says so and I think he is one of the most honest, upfront men in the industry. Secondly, this has already happened before. Yes sirrie bob ! MTV Bakra set him up before with an identical gag. This is what happened, in the great man’s own words.
“I was doing a photo-shoot at Rakesh Shreshta’s studio. Sandeep of Bombay Times called and said that he wanted to interview me. I asked him to come to Shreshta’s studio but he said that he had a girl who also wanted to interview me for an Irish paper. So we fixed up the meeting at Lokhandwala’s Barista outlet.”
Kapoor says that a ‘firang’ girl (in a backless outfit, say our sources) started interviewing him. “I told her I had no inhibitions talking about sex. The interview went off well. Finally I realized that they had made a fool of me, but by then I had completed the interview,” he offered.
“But I am upset. I have used a lot of slang words and gone a bit over the top in the interview. I don’t want them to carry it in toto. If they do that, I will sue them for Rs 20 crore. I did not sign the ‘No Objection’ certificate. The whole joke is in bad taste. It’s sic actually. I have a family. My image is at stake if I speak such language on camera,” he added
Mr Kapoor refused to sign the No-objection certificate and so this show was never aired. But the point is—-if this has happened once (and not so long ago), how big an idiot would Shakti Kapoor have to be in order to fall into the same trap twice? Quoting a line from a Shakti character: “Summari Main Kummari, Kabaddi Khele Kabaddi”
Thirdly, why the hell would he need to “Boom Boom Boom Boom, I want you in my room” a woman, (who he advised to lose weight) when he has hot women throwing themselves at him for his attention ? Please look at the picture below taken from an “item number” search contest of which the great man himself was the judge.
Here, Shakti Kapoor is brutally honest and up-front (a sharp contrast from the hypocritical Subhas Ghai and Yash Chopra). A few samples:
By Rohini’s side was her mother, who wasn’t the least bit fazed when Shakti Kapoor scooped up her daughter’s legs and plonked them on his for a photo shoot. “We have to be open-minded these days,” she sighed. …………
Looking like his casting dream had just come true, Shakti Kapoor stretched back on the couch and drawled: “A bomb must ooze sex. I’m looking for t*** and a**.”
Raj Kapoor drenched Mandakini under a waterfall and captured it with leering camera angles and passed it off as “worshipping the female form”—a whole lot of tommyrot. He gets the Dadasaheb Phalke. Shakti Kapoor, on the other hand, tells it like it is. And he gets the scorn of the Mahila-mandals and the BJP. Justice anyone?
However, even in this hour of need, Shakti Kapoor’s wife has stood beside him. Which goes to show how loving and nurturing their marriage is—something that Mr Ilyasi, a wife-murderer, would not even understand.
At this difficult time, I am happy that my wife is by my side. She treats me as her only God on this earth. She is a typical Hindu woman who is very religious. She sees me as her Pati Parmeshwar and the video has done nothing to change that image. All this false and distorted exposure has not shaken her confidence in me one bit. In fact more than me, it is my wife who has jumped to my defence. If she has her way, she will go up to Mr Illiyasi and give him a good thrashing.
Way to go tigress……….Hillary Clinton’s blessings are upon thee. In Bill’s case too, the Monica thing was a right-wing-conspiracy—over here it’s the BJP’s !
In conclusion, what this incident has done is to ruin the trust producers/directors/actors should have on aspiring actresses. Things have become so bad that I am sure that the next time an aspiring actress screen tests for Shakti Kapoor in a hotel, he would have to insist she totally disrobes. Just to see that she does not have a recording instrument planted on her.