Criticising Bollywood actor-producer Aamir Khan for his views on ‘rising intolerance’ in the country, film fraternity members Anupam Kher, Ram Gopal Varma and Ashoke Pandit have said as a widely followed superstar, he must spread hope and not fear.
The celebrities took to Twitter to share their opinion on Aamir’s statement that his wife and filmmaker Kiran Rao feared for their son’s safety and that she once asked if they should leave India.
Anupam, who earlier this month, led a march to protest against a section of artistes who had been returning their awards over ‘intolerance’ in the country, questioned Aamir if he had asked Kiran “which country would she like to move out to”.
“Did you tell her that this country has made you Aamir Khan,” the veteran actor, who has worked with Aamir in films like “Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahin”, “Dil” and “Rang De Basanti”, tweeted.
He added: “Dear @aamir_khan. Did you tell Kiran that you have lived through more worse times in this country and but you never thought of moving out… When did ‘Incredible India’ become ‘Intolerant India’ for you? Only in the last seven to eight months? #AtithiDevoBhavah.”
Aamir, in 2008, was appointed to endorse the Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India campaign.
Thus, Anupam also questioned Aamir that “presumed (the) country has become intolerant, what do you suggest to millions of Indians? Leave India? Or wait till regime changes?”
He also asked the “Satyamev Jayate” host that while on the show, “you talked about evil practices, but gave hope. So even in ‘Intolerant’ times you need to spread hope not fear”.
Even Ram Gopal Varma came forward to question that when “Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman — the three biggest stars of the Hindu country India are Muslims, I don’t understand where intolerance is?”
“In a predominantly Hindu country, if three Muslims can become the biggest iconic superstars, that itself proves the majority aren’t intolerant. Some celebs complaining about intolerance should be the last ones to complain because they became celebs in a so-called intolerant country,” he added.
While stressing that “isolated incidents can’t be taken as sign of intolerance”, Varma also mentioned that “it’s the celebs’ need for creating drawing room debates to increase their popularity which flares up non existent negativity between communities.”
Veteran actor Paresh Rawal, who starred in “OMG: Oh My God!” which questioned the existence of blind faith in godmen — much like Aamir’s blockbuster “PK” — commented: “‘PK’ did rattle the belief of Hindus, but Aamir didn’t face the wrath of Hindu or THE MAJORITY… but was superhit and made crores.”
Censor board chief Ashoke Pandit made a sarcastic remark, saying: “Now that @aamir_khan also feels we are an #IntolerantNation. Let us now go all out and prove once for all that we are really intolerant.
“Kiran Rao led MAMI (film festival) where India and Indian cinema were celebrated. @aamir_khan is himself a superstar loved and celebrated pan-India. Where is the intolerance?”
There was few names who supported Aamir — music composer Vishal Dadlani of the Vishal-Shekhar duo, and filmmaker Sanjay Gupta.
He said: “More power to your voice, @aamir_khan Sir! This is OUR country, it belongs to ALL Indians. Not to rabid lunatics from any party/religion. Thanks to Aamir Sir, for speaking against intolerance! Proud to see the giants of film, use their voices for India.”
Gupta brought the focus to Aamir’s full statement, which the latter made at an awards event in the capital on Monday.
“‘That was a disastrous statement for Kiran to make.’ Aamir Khan’s next line after saying that Kiran wants to leave. Hear the full interview. Those accusing Aamir Khan of being intolerant, please have the tolerance to watch the whole interview. Nowhere does he say he wants to leave India.”