What's the fastest way to get the whole Indian subcontinent (and the entire South Asian diaspora) against you? Why, simply take a page out of Russell Peters' book (which is probably called How to Win Friends and Influence People) and insult the most beautiful woman in the world. Not to mention the industry she works in too, for good measure.
Something was lost in translation when the Canadian comedian made scathing comments about both the Bollywood film industry and superstar Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan. Peters was in India to promote the Indo-Canadian hockey film Speedy Singhs (released as Breakaway in Canada). Unfortunately, no one was laughing in India after hearing what he had to say.
"I hate Bollywood," he is reported to have said of the Hindi-language film industry. "The movies are all garbage, just terrible. It's my opinion, obviously there are billions who like and love them. I don't like all the singing, dancing and all the dramatic crying. I have never seen a Bollywood film in my life. I have refused doing it earlier and will do so in future. But I hope some filmmakers take a chance of making real movies."
He went on to take jabs at one of the industry's biggest stars. “Aishwarya is the biggest example of bad acting," he reportedly said. "She has proved it time and time again that in Bollywood, people can become superstars just by having a pretty face.”
But no, he didn't stop there. He continued on, even implicating her husband, Abhishek Bachchan, son of Bollywood megastars Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri. "She hasn’t become a better actor. She is still good looking, isn’t that good enough? Good job, Abhishek, you finally knocked her up.”
Filmie fans, women's rights activists, and industry figures have all spoken out against his remarks and demanded an apology from him.
Box-office heavyweight Akshay Kumar, who coproduced Breakaway and has a cameo in it, has reportedly apologized to Abhishek for Peters' comments. (Kumar owns a home in Toronto and recently starred in the Canadian-set Bollywood film Thank You.)
Your move, Peters.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.