News Round-Up: Nawazuddin’s Brother is an Even Worse Person, Katrina is Making The Best Movie, Salman’s Next Sounds Fun

Fun news stories today! A big deal gossip story, plus promotions for two upcoming films in the future that both sound GREAT!

Katrina and Ali Abbas Zafar Are Definitely Making a Full On Action Film

Woo-hoo! I was worried this would end up being weak sauce, not really a Katrina starrer. And there were rumors that it might be a Netflix thing, not a “real” movie. But, yaaaay! Ali Abbas Zafar confirms that it is going to be a real movie, all or nothing. And it will be a total Katrina showcase. (story here)

I am so happy about this. The Katrina AAZ movies are some of her best stuff, starting with Mere Brother Ki Dulhan all the way through Bharat. And Katrina is a great physical actor, she can dance and she can do action. She isn’t super good with dialogue, but neither is Tiger Shroff (for instance). And he is a big star, playing the “Strong silent type”. Let’s let Katrina be Strong and Silent too! I think that would be great!!!!

Salman Khan And Katrina Kaif Looks Stunning On Bharat Poster
Ignore the huge Salman head, look how good Kat looks in pants!

Salman Talks About Next Film

Remember yesterday I posted a music video from Salman of a song by Sajid-Wajid? He released the song for Eid, but it was really really good. Not like his other two songs which felt more sort of rushed out because he was bored under lockdown. Now I suspect the song was written for Salman’s next movie, which he would be filming right now but can’t. He was supposed to release Radhe for Eid, and then presumably move straight into Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali (the movie he is announcing now). The “Bhai Bhai” song sounds perfectly in line with the movie concept he is promoting, so I’m gonna say it was written for this film and Salman used it for the Eid video instead since the movie can’t be filmed right now. (story here)

Anyway, Salman says this will be a movie about love and harmony and interreligion. It will tell the story of a family that is mixed Hindu and Muslim and celebrates both Eid and Diwali (thus the title). I am very excited about all of this, a nice anti-communalism movie, and also a nice family movie. We were just talking about single screens listing off the movies that work for them and it is all action. Sounds like this will have some action (because it is Salman), but mostly be a family movie. I am guessing it will also do well in single-screens, because the audience just wants Masala. If it’s 60% action and 40% other stuff, or 60% family harmony and 40% other stuff, doesn’t matter.

Nawazuddin’s Brother is a Pedophile

Big story, Big Thoughts!!! Have I mentioned my frustration with the Hindi film “#MeToo” movement? It only dealt with low hanging fruit and ignored the real problems of society. And here is what I am talking about.

Everyone is very comfortable talking about “evil” movie stars and producers affronting a woman’s modesty. That is perfectly in line with long term Indian society thinking. The workplace is dangerous for woman, men in power will try to seduce/attack “our” woman, a truly virtuous woman will be shaken and humiliated and run back to the safety of the home. I’m not saying men were innocent or anything like that, just that the way “#MeToo” was used in India ended up supporting established social narratives rather than confronting them.

Here is the narrative that needs to be confronted, the family alliances and power structure that allow for terrible abuses. Nawazuddin’s wife is filing for divorce, and Nawazuddin’s side is shocked at her hurting his mother and so on. She has lived separately from him for years, with his children. Now, during lockdown, Nawazuddin struggled to get to his mother and his village from Bombay. His wife and children were already in a different village, sounds like he made no effort to go to them. His primary responsibility was to his original family, not his wife and children.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: My mother was not a teacher but she had the ...
I am aware his sister died recently, and that is very sad. But the idea that “of course, his mother is upset, he must do whatever it takes to go to her and protect her” contrasted with “his wife and kids are….somewhere?” and no one questions it, that is what I find wrong.

Nawazuddin’s wife, in her divorce filings, named his brother as a big part of the problem. She didn’t like him around, she didn’t like how he treated her, and Nawazuddin took the brother’s side. So she took her children and moved out. Nawazuddin’s defense seems to be, spreading rumors she wants money in the divorce settlement. Well, isn’t she entitled to money? She’s raising his children! No one disputes that she has been their primary caregiver for years. What better use of Nawazuddin’s money is there than putting it towards his kids?

And now, because of the divorce and his brother being named, some long running legal issues have been dug up. Not recently, just reported recently is all, Nawazuddin’s niece filed a case against his brother for sexual harassment when she was a child. She says she had a stepmother who abused her, she was afraid and sad, she thought her uncle (Nawazuddin’s brother) loved her, but as she got older she began to realize he wasn’t touching her right. She went to Nawazuddin for help, thinking he was from the city and different and would understand. And he said, “don’t be silly, he is your uncle, he could never do that”. She is now married, her husband supports her, Nawazuddin’s family continues to file counter-suits against her.

So let’s think about all the things Nawazuddin’s family apparently considered acceptable. First, that their son remarried and his new wife treated his daughter from his first marriage terribly. Second, that only her uncle was ever kind to the daughter. Third, that the daughter told her other uncle (Nawaz) she was being abused and he dismissed it. Fourth, that they can file legal suits over and over again against their niece and call her a liar. No one is disputing any of these facts! The only thing being denied is the actual sexual abuse. There is no shame or sense that there is something wrong about a stepmother abusing her stepchild, filing law suits against your own niece, or dismissing an accusation of sexual harassment without even attempting to figure out what is behind it.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui's brother accused of sexually abusing niece ...
Brotherly love, yaaaay! Always there for each other

This is the sickness at the heart of Indian society. Woman in the workplace being asked to provide sexual favors, that’s bad. But the children of a family having their health and safety ignored in favor of the adults in that family? That is a toxic sickness that strikes at the heart of everything.

Nawazuddin is a good actor, and he gets a lot of work in Hindi films. Every once in a while you will run across articles about how unfair it is that he had to struggle for so long to be noticed, while other people breezed in through connections and class. From what I have read about the Hindi film society over the years, those “connections” and “class” mean the sort of progressive open mindedness that is rare in Indian society.

Every family can have a pedophile in it. For whatever mysterious reason, this sin pops up everywhere. What is different is if the structure of society and the family allow these sins to flourish. Nawazuddin’s niece came to him and said “this is what is happening”. He already knew she was being physically abused by her stepmother, that was a given. And in the years after that, he must have known his family was filing court cases against her, legally harassing her. And on top of that, Nawazuddin’s wife told him “I don’t want your brother around our family” and moved out. And he did nothing, he gave his tacit consent to anything his family chose to do. That is what is wrong.

Years ago, Nawazuddin got into slight trouble because the ghost writer for his autobiography turned a consensual relationship with a fellow actor into a salacious sex scene. The woman involved spoke out about not feeling comfortable with being described that way, although she said the relationship was true. Another former girlfriend was inspired to speak out as well, say she broke up with Nawazuddin when she learned he was sharing intimate details of their relationship with all his friends. And then here on the blog someone remembered when Nawazuddin came to speak at their college, and descended into wink-wink nudge-nudge discussion of the sex scenes in his movies. What I got from that is Nawazuddin wasn’t quite as mature as the rest of the film industry around him. He was stuck in an older version of male-female relationships, where any woman who has sex with you outside of marriage is fair game for nasty stories.

Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone to come together for a film?
I don’t love Ranbir, but he has the basic politeness to treat his former girlfriends with respect as people. Heck, even his father and grandfather had that, they had affairs and so on, but they never disrespected the women involved, or treated them as disposable just because they were sexually active.

And so this story doesn’t really surprise me. Nawazuddin feels slightly other, apart from the rest of film society, because he just isn’t ready to grow up to their level. Nawazuddin rejected his wife when she left him and is spreading “nasty rumors” about her demanding a lot of money from him. Hindi film embraces its divorced women, from Karisma to Dimple, and gives them friends and jobs and acceptance. Nawazuddin sided with his parents and his brother over his wife and children, again and again. The stories of Hindi film actors who have broken from their families in favor of their wives and children are legion. That’s how many of them got into film, they rebelled and only the film industry would accept them.

I’m not saying Hindi film society is perfect by any means. Just that it has moved the marker a little bit forward from “my parents and my brothers before anyone else, women are possessions of their family”. Not a lot, but a little bit. And if you are still stuck in a previous position, then yes, you will struggle to find friends and acceptance in the industry. Open your mind a little bit, and see if things change.

14 thoughts on “News Round-Up: Nawazuddin’s Brother is an Even Worse Person, Katrina is Making The Best Movie, Salman’s Next Sounds Fun

  1. I don’t know the whole story with Nawaz and family, all the things coming out indeed paint a very shady picture. Regarding the individual stories though, here’s what I was thinking. If he was already estranged from his wife and the kids are with her, while he might have been visiting them periodically earlier, he could not due to lockdown maybe? Whereas a death in the family is an emergency for which he would’ve gotten permission and hence could visit his mother? About the sex scenes and stuff, Kubbra Sait (Kukoo in Sacred Games), a very outspoken, bubbly personality, has spoken effusively about how much she loved working with him, and they had some pretty graphic scenes together! This doesn’t prove or disprove anything of course, just that I had a different perception of him listening to her than what I’m learning now.
    I love that you give the film industry credit that they didn’t embrace him for not being as ‘woke’ as them, I still think it’s majorly colorism and things like that. There are too many examples of regressive attitudes in the industry (people accused of harassing and molesting continuing to get work and thrive, etc.) for me to believe that.

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    • Let me flip this around, and use a film industry example at the same time. Hrithik and Suzanne are divorced, they share equal custody, and during lockdown they made a point of finding a way to live together so the boys could have both parents present. That’s the film industry expectation, fathers should be equal parents to mothers and divorced people should figure things out in a way that makes things best for the kids. If Nawazuddin was only visiting the wife and kids periodically before than yes this makes sense. But why the heck was he only visiting them periodically???? That’s already a bad father. I would assume the norm during all times was that he was close to his children, and during lockdown he would work things out so he could stay close with them.

      Let’s flip this around, there are so many examples of bad things in the industry, but can you come close to comparing the good things with any other industry in India? Is there another industry where all of the most powerful plays are part of interreligious love marriages? Where arranged marriages are oddities? Where marriages before age 25 are oddities? Where most work places include at least 25% women? Where several of the most powerful people are women? Where there are single fathers, single mothers, divorces, and its all accepted? Where there are so many people who are out and proud, at least within this social group? So many couples openly living together before marriage and no one judging them? It’s just this massive difference from everywhere else. Not on a case by case basis, but the mass case of social expectations.

      On Wed, Jun 3, 2020 at 1:47 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think the key difference is that Hrithik and Suzanne clearly like each other, enough to inhabit the same space. Right from when they got divorced, they’ve never spoken bad about each other. While celebs often put up a show in these cases, they’ve actually walked the walk with Suzanne supporting him during controversies, celebrating together, haven’t they even gone on vacations with kids? While there seems to be a lot of anger and bitterness between Nawaz and wife, unfortunately that’s coming in the way of parenting. Who knows, they might do better after divorce? Also, Hrithik and Suzanne are both industry kids, they move in same circles, so it’s easier to co-parent. Nawaz’s wife is not a part of thar world, so it’s a lot harder. Regarding visiting periodically, that’s a reality for a lot of normal families, where job requirements force spouses to live in different cities, and lockdown has made it even harder.
        I agree about the good things in the industry, no arguments there! I would argue that’s the case for entertainment industries around the world, like Hollywood, aren’t they considered more liberal, progressive than the society around them? But being such a visible industry, the bad aspects get attention along with the good. Skin-color may not be an issue in many other industries, but can be a discriminating factor in Bollywood.

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        • I guess what I find interesting is the “normal” families part. It’s something fathers do of course, but I feel like if a celebrity in America did the same, checked out of fathering to the point of just not being part of his children’s lives, it could be a PR problem. Heck, I know it is, Bruce Willis quarantining away from his young children got a lot of coverage because everyone found it weird. But in Indian celebrity, it doesn’t even seem to cause a second glance. I’m talking about the media and the public, not the rest of the industry. Nawazuddin is behaving like most people in India behave, and it is not normal for the industry, but it is normal for the rest of India to the point that it wasn’t even a story until his wife filed for divorce.

          I don’t think Hollywood, or any other industry, has that degree of a disconnect with the rest of society. Hollywood has liberals, divorced people, folks with addiction problems, but so does the rest of America. It might be a little more welcoming to Queer folks, but no more than most of urban America. Not saying America is perfect, it’s got loads of problems, as does Hollywood, just that the disconnect isn’t quite as distinct. Just like the wealth disparity isn’t as shocking, or the education disparity, or even the clothes disparity.

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          • I think what it is is that the media considers Nawaz as a ‘normal’ person rather than ‘celebrity’. Same with people like Irrfan, Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, I don’t know anything about their personal lives beyond that they are married, I only learnt Irrfan had two sons due to recent events. They don’t get papped coming out of airports or parties. There’s no public interest, so no scandal!

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  2. I am so happy about the Katrina movie! She definitely deserves it!

    That Salman movie warms my heart, finally religious tolerance in a movie almost in the Rajshri style with some addition of action as well.

    Also, apparently Karan spoke in a Zoom/interview that he wanted Vicky Kaushal and Katrina on the couch together for the next season of KWK. My shipper’s heart is so happy!

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  3. I have a hard time reconciling all this stuff about Nawazuddin with my mental image of him. When I think of him, I see this tiny shy guy who almost seemed to disappear on the stage of a German film festival. I think he was there with Dekh Indian Circus, so pretty early in his success. Traditional clothes, relying on an interpreter instead of knowing English, he seemed like almost the quintessential man off the street. If I passed him in the street of some Indian city, I wouldn’t notice him.

    He definitely doesn’t have the typical Bollywood star qualities. But it’s kind of like he’s not even part of the „everyone“ you talked about in your recent post on classism. Maybe it really is a question of class as both the mentality and the rung on the social ladder. So if Nawazuddin doesn’t have the „class“ to be open-minded and forward-thinking, does that really make him an inherently worse person than those who were brought up different? Don’t get me wrong, I agree with your assessment of everything that is wrong with that story about his niece. I guess I’m just saying it’s a problem of society more than this one individual.

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    • That’s the big question, isn’t it? Where do we draw the line and say “this is forgivable because of your circumstances, this is not”? Especially when he has the ability to change in front of him, he went to the National School of Drama in Delhi, he lives in Bombay, he works with forward thinking progressive people. When do you lose the “I didn’t know any better” excuse?

      On Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 1:49 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • And no one cares but you and me.

      Should I put up my Running Shaadi post again do you think?

      On Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 8:21 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I wished him on twitter and he send me a hug 🙂

        How about TGIF to show those who don’t care they should care because he is the best?

        Like

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