Discussion Post: Today’s Hindi Heroes, Smart or Dumb? Place Your Votes!

I got like 5 hours of sleep last night and I still have to get through 2 more hours of work (after leaving for the airport at 4:30am my time, then flying, then landing, then driving straight to work), so I am going to put up a very silly sleep-deprived post.

You know how you have impressions of celebrities that are deep and settled and yet you have never really interrogated them? Genevieve asked me in a comment today if Hrithik is really dumb, and it shook me! It’s like asking “is the sky blue?” Of course he’s dumb! Because because because…Because he IS! He just is and I am as sure of that as I am of the ground on which I stand!

Anyhoo, gut check, which of the following actors would you say “smart” or “dumb”? You can expound if you want, or just answer and prove that I am not the only person with irrational certainties.

Shahid Kapoor

Hipster, try too hard, little bit dumb at life but smart at work

Image result for shahid kapoor"

Ranbir Kapoor

Thinks he is smart, but actually just good at posing and really dumb

Image result for ranbir kapoor"

Saif Ali Khan

Very very smart

Image result for saif ali khan"

Sanjay Dutt

Dumb

Image result for sanjay dutt"

Shahrukh Khan

Super super smart

Image result for shahrukh khan"

Aamir Khan

Super super smart

Image result for aamir khan"

Salman Khan

Street smart

Image result for salman khan"

Ranveer Singh

Smart enough to play dumb

Image result for ranveer singh"

Varun Dhawan

Smart enough to know he needs to get smarter

Image result for varun dhawan"

Hrithik Roshan

So dumb

Image result for hrithik roshan"

Ayushmann Kharrana

Smart

Image result for ayushmann khurrana"

Rajkummar Rao

Smart at work, could be smarter at career

Image result for rajkummar rao"

Vicky Kaushal

???

Image result for vicky kaushal"

Tiger Shroff

Dumb

Image result for tiger shroff"

Farhan Akhtar

The rare Smart/Dumb!

Image result for farhan akhtar rock band"

Agreements? Disagreements? Other nominees for the smart/dumb category?

59 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Today’s Hindi Heroes, Smart or Dumb? Place Your Votes!

  1. I have to point out that the people you find dumb are the exceptionally beautiful and muscular folks. I do have an inclination to believe that the people who actually want to spend five hours a day working out might not be the most intellectually stimulating. But then CA once elected one of those to the governors mansion, so I pretend not to judge.

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    • Well, there’s also Farhan who I label dumb because I stereotype 40-something men that get a divorce and decide to leave everything and tour with their band.

      And Ranbir, who doesn’t seem to even bother working out any more, I don’t know what is up with that. He should be working out! He’s a movie star!

      On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 3:42 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I’m pretty sure mid-life crisis happen to people of all intelligence levels. Actually I respect people who realize they aren’t happy and make changes, unless those changes involve abandoning children.

        The theory that Ranbir has addiciton issues would explain a lot of his behavior.

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        • In Farhan’s case, I don’t know if he abandoned his children, but he did abandon his film studio. So frustrating! Great director, good mentor and head of his studio, and then he goes off and starts blowing his money being a “rock star” and traveling the world with his band that no one cares about.

          On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 11:48 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yeah, they came to some suburb outside Chicago (where I live) on a “world tour” a few years ago. The tickets were heavily discounted by the last week which makes me think they couldn’t get anyone to come. I was highly HIGHLY tempted to buy a ticket just so I could hold up a big “Farhan, stop all this and write Don 3!!!” sign.

            He’s not a bad singer/songwriter, but COME ON. Who goes on a world tour with their rock band that can’t even sell tickets when they could be home making more record breaking hit movies or at least producing other people’s movies?

            Oh, and his band is called “FarhanLIVE” and he released his first album last year, “Echoes”. I don’t know why, but both those names make me irrationally angry.

            On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 9:12 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • He knows it too that people are upset with him. I saw an interview of his with the Huffington Post just yesterday where he mentioned that he gets comments like “Nobody wants to see your acting! Go direct Don 3!”

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  2. Unpopular opinion: most actors aren’t that smart. Actor-producers like the Khans are the exception but even there I don’t think they are plumbing intellectual depths. Smart in career but not like PhD smart.

    Hrithik seems incredibly dumb but to be fair to him, his stutter is most definitely an issue and in his interviews he comes across as kind of a hot mess emotionally. He says Rakesh gave him a harsh upbringing and he was also bullied. It must’ve been surreal to go from awkward, stuttering dude to mega hot sexy superstar overnight and then a week later daddy almost dies. Maybe he’s more emotionally stunted than stupid. Or, you know, both.

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    • How could you!!!!! Obviously hot dudes are also smart!

      Do you think maybe with actors, especially the ones at the very top of their careers, is that they also have highly specialized knowledge base, which someone outside of their world has a hard time of measuring? Like, I would guess that all three Khans can recite chapter and verse of every box office trend, all the number projections, all the everything, and give highly intelligent original analysis and theories and stuff. But can they give an original thought on some dinner party topic like “what should the drinking age be?”? Probably not.

      Does that make sense? It’s kind of like going out to dinner with a neurosurgeon, they might be a genius in their one very very very particular area, but they spend all their downtime mindlessly playing video games and haven’t picked up a book in years. Especially for the industry kids, they grew up knowing everything about the movies and nothing about anything else.

      On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 3:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Yep! And if you are “just” a movie star, people might expect you to have the time for other interests, it’s not enough to say “I was filming, I didn’t read that newest novel”.

          On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 6:49 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • My high school drama teacher, who was on her sixth career and had seen some things, in telling me not to stick with theater, said something to the effect of “actors are dumb and vain, directors are just actors who think they’re smarter than everyone, dancers are dumb and smelly, and musicians are smelly and broke.” Actor + dancer, well.

            I’ve come around to thinking that the kind of emoting and ability to assume other characters that makes for great acting is one of those savant skills that isn’t connected to intellectual capacity. You can be really smart and not able to act. You can be a brilliant actor and not a brilliant mind. They’re not connected in an obvious way. You probably get an unpredictable spread just like with any other group of people.

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          • Your last comment makes total sense. And I would add that it actually takes more intelligence to be a “Star” in the Indian film kind of way than it does to just be a good actor. Acting is a talent, but being able to play the PR game, coordinate with brands, pick good scripts, and on and on, that means you have to be smart.

            On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 9:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Well, i disagree. His stammering and him being shy and awkward can create that impression. He is not very articulate and doesnt have the social intelligence to see that not everyone has the philosophical disposition that he has.
      But actually if you look at the things he is actually saying they make a lot of sense if you try to understand it, i know that because i have been a huge fan of his since i was a young boy and his interviews and his “phiosophical ramblings” helped me through my difficult teenage years , i connected with what he used to say.
      I dont think he will be able to contribute a lot to the discussions about political or the country’s economy but he knows the human conition, pain, suffering, love, humiliation, kindness, cruelty, willpower all of that, he knows how to get through it. Probably because of his own experiences he has a tendency to look at everything from that lens which makes people who want entertainment or “juicy gossip” from celebrity interviews think he is being too abstract, shallow or fake but its actually them who cant think deeply enough to comprehend what he is saying.
      So to conclude, ye he might be “dumb” is some ways but he is also very very deep in some ways which is better than most people.

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  3. I’ve only seen…two…? Vicky Kaushal movies but I think he is solidly in the “smart enough to play dumb” category because you can see that look in his eyes like you see in career customer service people “Same shit, different day.”

    Also poor Hrithik, I think he can learn stuff quickly and learn it pretty well if you tell him he *has* to but otherwise he might be too busy keeping his beautiful head above water for much else. Does that make sense? You can see the difference between him and Saif Ali Khan – every time I see that guy he has that wrinkle between his eyebrows that makes him look super smart.

    And I agree that the ‘too legit to quit’ smart people would be Aamir Khan (he looks SO nerdy) and SRK because SRK is in this life to make that dollar, y’all and he isn’t about to do something dumb like keep all his eggs in one basket.

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    • Yes! Love your description of Hrithik! Maybe it’s just physical versus mental enjoyment? Like, Saif is clearly a guy who thinks “oh boy! Free time to go visit museums and read interesting books!” while Hrithik is a guy who thinks “oh boy! Free time to learn how to ski!” But Hrithik can memorize a script and learn all about Emporer Akbar if he has to, and Saif can focus and learn complex dance moves if he has to.

      And yep to Aamir and Shahrukh! I’d say Salman too. At a certain point, you don’t get that big through “Luck” and “talent”, you sit down and come up with a plan and execute it, and then you are Aamir taking over China or Salman being the most reliable box office king for a decade, or Shahrukh founding a film empire.

      On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 4:56 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I also think you could get Hrithik to sit with you while you nerded out at him, too, and he wouldn’t mansplain things to you because no one else had ever bothered to explain it to him so he’s listening with fresh ears. Some of the things he says sound very complete in that “I just learned this and I want to tell you too, but I’m going to tell you everything this other person told me so that I don’t mess it up” way.

        And the Khans all approached the same problem and found ways to succeed–and doesn’t Shahrukh have a degree in economics?! On a side note, and please correct me if I’m wrong, I like that he doesn’t seem to be pressuring his kids into following into his footsteps, they seem to be getting towards the age that they would start trying to act but I think he made them go to college?

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        • That is 100% a fanfic prompt for the nerdy girl assistant director who everyone thinks is plain and unsexy but she takes the time to explain things to the pretty hunk and he falls in love with her for being the first person to ever take him seriously and she falls in love with him for being the first man to respectfully listen to her.

          Oh hey, Aamir fell in love with the pretty AD but different dynamic, obv.

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          • Please, madam, if it please you, please, should you feel called to it, write this fanfic, please? Because YES.

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          • Wait, isn’t this the same prompt for Anil Kapoor being the futzy but smart analyst who is assigned to work with hot-shot spy Hrithik in the War sequel?

            Anyway, I also love this one! Especially if we get a sad intro for both of them, Hrithik meeting with the director and saying he feels like maybe he SHOULD have a copy of the whole script instead of just being told to memorize his lines and show up? But then everyone pats his little head and tells him not to worry about it, just do what you do, somepeople are made for reading, some people are too pretty to read. And then Hrithik goes home and sadly plays video games. And she is handed the whole script and told to mark it up with camera movements and stuff, and asks if maybe she could be on set and work with the actors and things this time, and they tell her no, some people are meant to sit alone in the office and mark things up and some people are meant to go out and talk to people. And then somehow she and Hrithik find each other, and he gives her a chance to actually direct instead of giving a cheat sheet for the director, and she helps him to seriously read the script instead of just showing up and smiling. And then they fall in love. And there’s a song.

            On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 8:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • So I can’t get the silly fic stuff out of my head because we 100% need to get this made ASAP – here we go, but I just saw Trimurti and decided that 90s Anil Kapoor is one of my jams in his terrible 80s zoot suit so I have to include him…!

            So we have a sad intro for all three – Hrithik has read the script, the whole thing, and wants to get some feedback about ideas he’s had. Gets shot down. Goes home and does Hrithik Roshan things at home by himself. The AD girl is marking up the script and realizes this would all be so much easier if she was on set working with everyone–and the director is bonkers bad and she is up late every night marking and remarking the script, texting the cinematographer and focus puller like crazy trying to figure out what they DID that day and what they can try to fix with tonight’s edits. Anil is the production accountant but he’s always wanted to be a screenwriter. He has a movie that’s written, something really poignant but uplifting, but no one ever gives him a chance when he tries to pitch it.

            Anil and the AD girl meet when he calls her into his office because the production is going to run out of money if they don’t have a movie in the can soon–and the director can’t bear to hear that let alone admit it to anyone. Anil just wants to know what is going on, where trims to the budget can be made to scrape things along another month. AD girl sees the word document with Anil’s newest screenplay up on it but he won’t tell her more than that it’s his hobby. AD girl can see that it is most definitely NOT a hobby but she doesn’t want to embarrass him.

            The director writes a new scene, wholecloth, overnight and AD girl has to deliver it to Hrithik. He can tell right away that it is a pointless addition that will be a nightmare just on the blocking for the extras and they’ll be lucky if someone doesn’t end up crashing into a camera. Seeing AD girl, and knowing he sort of dissed her work after she got sent on a minion-level job, he apologizes and mutters that he wishes someone would have a new idea for once. She asks if he’s ever thought of producing a movie as well as starring in it–and if he’d give an unknown screenwriter a chance if it was the right script.

            And then the whole helping each other grow and the movie they were working on goes bust right before the interval so they’re thrown apart somewhat for a minute, at least one person falls in love with at least one other person and there’s most definitely a song or maybe four and they all live happily ever after. The end!

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          • I love it! I love all of this! And Anil can have a wife back home who he doesn’t know how to talk to any more because the romance is gone and they have grown apart, but then Hrithik teaches him to dance and he surprises her with a romantic dance on their anniversary and the spark reignites and she ends up helping out with like costumes and stuff for their shoestring movie. Juhi? Kind nice wife but their conversation revolves around groceries and when they have to leave for the family wedding?

            For our heroine, can we cast Sanya? Please please please? Mostly because she is a trained dancer and I want to see her with Hrithik?

            On Sat, Jan 25, 2020 at 12:41 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Juhi – yes, she would be great, and yes to Sanya! And I’m just imagining Hrithik teaching them both (Anil and Sanya) these simple steps that can look really slick if you do them right and Anil getting flustered at planning a surprise dinner and AD Girl (Sanya!) just saying that Anil does this all the time in his screenplays–he just needs to treat it like one of his romantic dance scenes! So then there’s a short song where he’s planning and fretting while Hrithik is teaching Sanya more dance moves between cheering him on.

            Just imagine it: Juhi sourcing costumes and props, Anil shyly scouting locations with her as they fall in love again, Hrithik teaching Sanya directing stuff while she helps him and the other actors deliver really good performances by giving them feedback and time to work. Maybe have some drama that because they did it all outside of the system though people try to shut them down or sabotage them, but it ends up being a hit because people can’t stop talking about how good it was!

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          • This whole conversation is going to be turned into a Silly Sunday post today so others can help us. And I LOVE the idea of Anil writing a love scene like it is in his movie.

            But now I am torn. I wanted him and Juhi to be married but have lost the spark of their younger days so he could have kids and stuff. But now I kind of like the idea of him romancing her for the first time. Like, she is the widow who lives down the hall, he lived with his mother all his life and never married, he falls in love with Juhi at first sight because she is so loud and talkative and wears such bright colors, but he is too shy to ever say anything. For two years he has been too shy to say more than “Namaste” when he sees her in the hallway. But Sanya and Hrithik help him gain confidence, he asks Juhi to help be costume designer because her clothes are so bright and pretty (she sews them herself!). And then Sanya and Hrithik keep throwing them together, and explain that when Juhi makes his favorite pickle just for Anil it means she likes him, and finally they go for a Romantic Date and Anil dances for her. And then Anil can still have kids and stuff because he can be a new father to Juhi’s kids.

            On Sat, Jan 25, 2020 at 10:42 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Yep, I think Shahrukh’s degree is in economics. His kids are going into film, but unlike other kids who are pressured to start right away, or handed everything they want when they want it, he and his wife are making them get real degrees. His son is at UCLA for directing, and his daughter just started studying acting at NYU. So, actual really good schools and programs where you have to work hard and learn a lot.

          Love your description of Hrithik!

          On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 8:13 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • This is probably the same as me going to UIC at the same time my sister was at U of C. One of them is one of the top 5 schools in the world, the other one…..is not.

            On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 9:32 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • As a person in LA I concur, Alisa. Just to add, USC is also knows as the university of spoiled children, reinforced by the recent admissions scandals. Tough school and programs, but getting in is really hard unless you know someone, can pay through the nose and/or have an off-the-charts talent. My goddaughter has applied for their animation program for the fall. We don’t know anyone or have a lot of dough, so hoping her insane talent will get her there. And that she will stay grounded because that’s who she is.

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          • Gonna guess Aryan got in on a “talented, and can pay through the nose” entry. Shahrukh knows lots of people, but the USC admissions/trustees seems an unlikely group. But paying through the nose, big time.

            If your goddaughter gets in, she can animate our fanfics and then we can find someone else’s goddaughter to run film dialogue through a machine so we can make actors say whatever we want them to say, and then life will be Perfect.

            On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 12:40 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • This is a hilarious description of Vicky. Yes. Not his fault he was born pretty, he’s like the flavor of the year heroine, taking his shot with what he was given.

      Full agree about the Khans too.

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      • I think you’re exactly right that he might be a flavor of the year pretty, because he’s definitely pretty but not pretty enough to attract people who want to case the newest, prettiest face OR who want to go with tried&true pretty faces.
        He seems like a better actor than Tiger, not quite as smart as Ranveer (or maybe he is and he just hasn’t had time to show it), and not quite as Ultra Connected like Farhan appears to be.

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  4. Farhan: Super Smart with career, very dumb @ personal life.
    Ranveer: Completely agree with you, its a complete act what he has on for the cameras.
    Vicky kaushal: Smart

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    • Can I add that Farhan is also very dumb at Hair?

      Glad we are in agreement with Ranveer! You don’t just fall your way to the top like that.

      On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 6:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh completely! If you see his interview around Band Baaja Baarat, he’s so much more mellow and quiet. His clothes, interviews are all a performance and Vijay Devarakonda is also modeling his career on Ranveer I feel.
        But won’t this get exhausting? To act both in front of the camera and off of it?

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        • On the other hand, everyone acts in both places, that’s part of being a public figure. So at least Ranveer can approach it like a full performance instead of pretending to not be performing while actually performing.

          On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 8:43 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I will fight you on Saif. He is soooo dumb but thinks he’s really smart. Have you seen some of his interviews about eugenics and genes and aristocracy? He is as dumb as it gets but he thinks he’s brilliant because he speaks English with an accent and went to school in London.
    Hrithik is a dodo also. His interviews sound like trite motivational posters which I suspect is what he learns from his life coach. If you have a life coach, you are utterly stupid.

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    • Yeah, he was dumb with the eugenics thing, but that was a one off. I think. He made one really stupid statement about it, but in every interview I’ve seen he is quick and smart and well-read with wide-ranging interests.

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  6. I agree with the person who said Saif is dumb.
    He has obviously read big books and byhearted long lines from them to sound smart in interviews. Eugenics thing was one of those times when people got to see how really dumb he is. Everyone seems to get impressed by the accent, and all the quotes he keep spouting from the books he has read. But behind all the show, there doesn’t seem to be much of anything substantial.
    Not just you, but all of Bollywood seems to be taken in with his lineage, clout, accent and treat him like royalty.
    He lives off the money left by his dad who was a king/nawab, or something of the sort. I am sure he can afford to take all those swiss vacations and sit around twiddling his thumbs, thanks to all the money his nawab ancestors have amassed by looting the poor.
    His choice of movies/scripts is so dumb that he cannot get a decent opening on any movies that has him as the lead. Even after all these years in the business, he doesn’t know how to be good at it.
    He abandoned his first wife when she lost her looks. He abandoned his kids too.
    But what he has is luck and loads of it. Born with a silver spoon, he got a red carpet entry into Bollywood. Survived even after umpteen number of flops, got to marry a young eye-candy actress whom he can take along as an accessory for red carpet events and airport photo ops.
    Now he has Sarah, Ibrahim, and Taimur to keep him relevant.

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    • Thanks for the comment!

      We can disagree on the conclusion, but I’ll correct you on a few points.

      His father was a Nawab, and also captain of the Indian Cricket Team, and a Padma Shri. They lost most of their ancestral money in independence when his father voluntarily gave up his rights to land and rule to independent India. On his mother’s side, the family was actively working for independence and was also a bit cash poor. His great uncle wrote the Indian National Anthem. Both his parents worked their whole adult lives and earned their own livings. Saif inherited quit a bit I am sure, but the family had lost their home by the time he inherited. He has been working the past several years to earn the money to buy it back.

      Now that he has bought back the family home, he has started taking better scripts. His films may flop, but they are consistently critically acclaimed for the past 5 years.

      I certainly don’t think Amrita Singh has lost her looks, it’s possible you and Saif both think that, but it is hardly a universally accepted truth. And saying he abandoned his kids is a very big statement, which has not been born out by anything that I know of, there is loads of photographic evidence that he remained in their lives post-divorce, and Sara’s own statements to the contrary.

      I also don’t think Kareena is “eye candy”. She is lovely of course, but she is so much more than her looks and I assume that is why Saif married her, not just as an “accessory”. In fact, she is as likely to take him as her accessory as the other way around.

      But I agree that Saif has an education and a way of speaking that may make people think he is more intelligent than he is. And that he was certainly given many more chances than he deserved at the start of his career, and was born into a gifted position that gave him more opportunities than others.

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    • I’m in full agreement with you. I cannot stand Saif and his superiority complex. I mean, gosh, the only reason his family were nawabs was because they were British loyalists and were given the title not that long ago by the Brits. It isn’t as if they were ancient royals anyway.
      Saif was poaching blackbucks with Salman but never gets any flak for it. In fact, his family learned so little from it that his father was also later arrested for poaching.
      I can write an essay on his stupidity but I’ll stop now.

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  7. Yes, we can agree to disagree.
    Also, I forgot to mention in the last comment, Saif even has a national award for the movie HUM TUM because his mom was in the award jury!! Let me repeat the name of the movie..
    HUMTUm.
    And also he has been awarded the padmashree, one of the highest civilian awards in the Republic of India in the year 2010.
    So maybe you are right. He has to be super smart to have gotten all these awards and rewards without deserving any bit of it.

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    • The National Awards were a complete travesty that year but it started new tradition of craziness after that. Every year after has been a joke.
      Mom gave her son an award for a silly romcom and they didn’t even feel ashamed. I still can’t believe it.

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  8. I find, for example, an Akshay Kumar to be super smart compared to a Saif Ali Khan.
    Sure, Akshay cannot string together highfallutin words with an accent to sound smart in interviews. But, while Saif could afford to visit museums in Europe when he got tired of his flops (thanks to his rich parents) and leave the job of raising his kids to his first wife while he lived the high life, Akshay kept at it even after 14 flops in a row, learned and mastered the Indian box-office and is now coming out with one hit movies after another. Now that I call super smart.
    Also, Saif’s choice of spouse is telling too. I respect your high opinion of Kareena Kapoor. But to me, she comes across as vacuous, shallow and petty in her interviews. So I deduced that he got together with her for her looks and not for her intellect.
    But what do I know? Maybe they do have things in common and in their free time they could be discussing the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics, or the overarching conflict of Oedipus versus his fate, the torments of the human soul, the innocence and guilt, Wisdom Out of Suffering, etc.

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  9. Honestly, I have difficulties with being judgemental, at least with categories like “dumb” and “smart” applicable to persons I don’t know. For example, I think that Akshaye is smart in the way he handles his career (with the help of specialized people) but I don’t find him intelligent or open minded or well educated but more the contrary, so concerning his mindset rather dumb. I also think that Ayushman is smart at sticking at a certain kind of roles but I find him less intelligent than Rajkumar.
    Hrithik is in no way dumb but I don’t find him smart either…still I think he has more intelligence than Salman, for example, latter sticking to formulas and not being able to make himself independent from his family.
    I think that Aamir is smart but not a very educated and intelligent person…there is too much focus on himself like ‘I know it better’…and sometimes I question his values. Saif – in my eyes – is far more intelligent but less smart.
    There is Boman Irani, I find intelligent but the word “smart” would not cross my mind.
    Ranveer has decided to distinguish himself through a certain behaviour…he is dumb in certain actions but smart in his decisions…and I think he can be very intelligent if need is.

    I know, I’m biaised with my affection for ShahRukh but – concerning the Hindi filmindustry and as a person – there is no one who can touch his level of intelligence and providence…still he does things that I wouldn’t name “smart”.

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  10. I admit that I haven’t watched any Bollywood movies in a long time.
    But Akshay’s behaviour/mindset towards women ?.
    I know that Akshay Kumar has launched free martial arts training for women across India and is a strong advocate for women’s safety in India.
    I know his wife Twinkle Khanna has got him in trouble numerous times because she has time and again made politically incorrect statements that have landed Akshay in trouble. I love the fact that his wife has a life and job independent of him and he has no say in what she says or writes in her columns . I think that is a healthy attitude/ mindset toward women in general.
    If you are talking about his movies, then yes him and Bollywood movies, in general, need to rethink the way they portray women on screen.
    I don’t care for actors to know the latest politically correct things to say in interviews to impress the social media intelligentsia.
    But I think Akshay has to be given props for coming from nothing and becoming one of the topmost box office earners in India, despite being an ok actor. He also has to be appreciated for doing Padman about menstrual hygiene based on the book written by his wife, doing mission mangal with a bunch of women in the lead, etc. I haven’t seen any of these movies, so I am not talking about their artistic worth. Instead, I am appreciating him for actually helming movies about women’s issues and putting his money where his mouth is. .All that to me is intelligence.
    I am sure if there is a debate on feminism, Saif can win it hands down because he can memorize pretty words from the latest books on feminism. But of what use is that if it finds no practical application? I see an Akshay Kumar doing much more for socially relevant and important causes.

    To have no Harvard /oxford education, to have no godfather or parents in the industry for support, and to survive in a cut-throat industry like Bollywood, to maneuver one’s way through it without giving up to crack it. Then to build billion-dollar net worth and to keep doing movies that mint money at the B.O..All of that sounds intelligent and smart to me. Maybe not bookish intelligence with pretty words. But intelligence, for sure.

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  11. This is complex question that goes back to Margaret’s consistent caveat that she doesn’t know these people and she has no inside information. Obviously none of us do and we only can judge from the persona they choose to show. Also, smartness in career choices is very different from intelligence. The one with the highest I.Q which is acknowledged universally in the industry is obviously Shah Rukh, but he has always been clear that he makes choices from the heart not the head. So, some haven’t been “smart’. I hate that Saif and Amrita split up and now he has this magical life, but we don’t know what that marriage was ever like. If you’ve seen the interview with the two of them on Simi Garawal way back when, they do not strike you as the ideal couple. I dislike intensely that Akshay has made a career of making rabidly political films that make great box office but are crap films, but its has been “smart” even if his politics are destructive. I had no idea that you thought Hrithik was so dumb. When he was on Koffee with Karan he seemed okay.

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    • The thing about Hrithik, for me, which I think people in other comments have come at a bit too, is that he is aware of his limitations. I don’t know if you call that “dumb” or “smart” or what. But he isn’t going to go on Koffee and try to make jokes that don’t land, or spout nonsense about something he doesn’t know, he is going to be very careful and cautious and only say what he is sure of saying.

      Which is something we have all seen in real life, I think. The person who is quick to grasp things and has a quick mind, but gets cocky and confident and is too dumb to realize that they are still limited. Versus the person who has a slow mind and has to work hard, but is smart enough to know what they don’t know. Which goes back to my disclaimer, on posts like this I never want to assume I know everything, the disclaimer is as much for me as for you, so I remember to listen to other people and learn from them.

      On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 12:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  12. I was praising your disclaimer, I hope you saw that. Its so true what you say. I have had less clever students who shined because they knew how hard they had to work and very clever students who relied on just smarts and missed so much.

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    • Oh yes! I was glad you appreciated the disclaimer. I always make myself reread it too.

      That smart-enough-to-do-the-work effect reminds me of our discussion about the male movie stars. Imran Khan, Arjun Kapoor, so many other actors have come and gone because they were talented but just not willing to put in the time and do the work. I guess the same is true of female stars, Katrina and Shraddha for instance work sooooooooo hard and it pays off for them. All that time memorizing scripts, and practicing dance, and everything else, it makes them better actresses and helps their careers.

      On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 5:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with all, I think Vicky is smart, and I would like to add Sid M (because I love him), but despite my loving him, I think he’s dumb. Although he could be in a similar category to Varun where he’s smart enough to realize that he’s dumb and needs to get smarter.

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    • I think Sid is definitely in the “smart enough to realize his limitations” category. He might be my “most improved” choice among the younger actors. He is soooooooooo handsome, and already charming and comfortable onscreen and stuff in his first movie. But instead of sticking with just that, he worked hard and got action skills, and comic timing, and all kinds of other things.

      On Thu, Jan 23, 2020 at 6:48 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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