‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ marked a pivotal departure for mainstream Indian cinema with the casting of Paresh Rawal as the same character played by Rishi Kapoor, who passed away unexpectedly during the filming. We consider the willing acceptance of this unconventional solution — likely encouraged by Ranbir Kapoor’s personalised introduction before the opening credits — and what it says about Indian spectatorship, celebrity culture and the audience’s relationship with Bollywood’s “first family”
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