Mumbai: Mumbai Film Festival continues to throw up lively debates. Taking a jibe at the way Bollywood works, perennially smiling adman Prahlad Kakkar had the audience in splits when he said the industry is a mom and pop shop.
"Why use a good actor when you can have a nephew? And if you have to create stars anyway, why not from the family? It is hence very difficult for men to become stars. But since Bollywood does not want their women to be in films, females have a better chance of becoming stars or starlets. Men stars are usually useless nephews and sons," he said at a forum.
Taking an open shot at the young Bachchan scion, Kakkar said, "Abhishek Bachchan has 17 flops in a row and is still going strong. He is unique and should be in the Guinness Book of Records," much to uproarious laughter from the gathering.
The fest is on till Thursday.
Along with Kakkar, veteran actor Pavan Malhotra became the darling of the audience with his frank views when he told the media, "You print my story continuously for a year and see where I go. I will become a star too."
The obvious point of discussion was whether it is the media that made stars or that media merely covered those that had become stars.
At the receiving end were media women Indu Mirani and Archita Kashyap, who defended their profession with uncharacteristic openness. Mirani said, "We do not make stars, we only follow 'A' listers."
The third media person on the dais, critic Mayank Shekhar, wittily avoided being dragged into the discussion, stating repeatedly that he was 'merely a moderator' though he is a member of the Fourth Estate.
However, when the discussion about paid news came up, Mayank refused to let the two media women go lightly and grilled them, with some very frank comments not just from the two, but also from media persons in the audience.
Director Anusha Rizvi repeated that it was the strength of her film Peepli Live that worked with the audience and not the involvement of Bollywood star Aamir Khan. This was also the view shared by Kashyap and Mirani, though not of the rest of the gathering.
Peruvian filmmaker Daniel Vega had the audience in giggles. He said he was dumbfounded about the Indian star system because in Peru they only made five films a year.