The intolerant phobia of the Khans

aamir.jpgIn the age of social media and bucketful of 24×7 news channels, the celebrity just cant get away if he/she raises a storm with their words of wisdom. Nothing trends more than a star being trolled on twitter and facebook.

Bearing the brunt now are two of the biggest Khans of Bollywood, Aamir and Shah Rukh. As I write, the former’s security is beefed up in wake of Hindu Sena activists protesting outside the actor’s bungalow, while the actor’s effigy is burnt in far away Patna.

While Shah Rukh Khan very cheekily raised the issue of intolerance on twitter, Aamir Khan dropped a bombshell when at a an event, he said that his wife and he are contemplating shifting out of the country as they feared for their child’s safety owing to so the so-called ‘intolerence’ in the country.

For those uninitiated, the ‘intolerance’ phobia has gripped many self-proclaimed intellects who voiced their dissent by returning their coveted awards. It’s a different matter though that the average citizen of the country cared two hoots when these people even got those recognition. So, not a soul would break a sweat if an nondescript A,B, C returns few pieces of metal.

The tragic Dadri lynching has created a fear psychosis among the  elitist members of the society, who have disapproved of beef ban across select states, including the financial capital – Maharashtra.  Minority or not, no civilian would tolerate such anarchy. Farhan Akhtar was the first to voice his dissent on the Dadri lynching, appealing to the authorities to punish the perpetrators.

Astonishingly, while the need of the hour was to bring the culprits to book, the issue lost its significance in the wake of the pseudo intellects returning their awards as a mark of protest.

Shah Rukh was trolled and soon the economic offences wing began to smell a rat in the King Khan’s IPL franchise funding. While SRK’s never been a popular figure amongst the right wing political class, Aamir Khan was one actor who enjoyed a pan India goodwill. For Aamir never mowed down anyone while driving, nor did he ever abuse a security guard at cricket stadium. Mr.Perfectionist had mastered the art of staying away from any controversy.

The trouble though began last December with the release of PK, a film that took on organised religion, but in the process ended up hurting the sentiments of many right wing parties. This year Aamir had deeply apologised to all those who felt offended by the film. The brickbats are out again, and with full gusto, as this time Mr.Perfectionist has bit more than he could chew.

Citizens, celebrities have expressed shock at Aamir’s statement, most of who are now reminding the actor how it is this nation which has made him a super star. Usually, Bollywood backs its own to the hilt, but it’s a different story this time, with celebrities like Anupam Kher, Rishi Kapoor, and even a Raveena Tandon questioning Aamir’s wisdom.

While the criticism levied against Khan is justified, I don’t think the actor should be crucified. Nor should one question Aamir’s nationalism. Aamir is not a arrogant brat like SRK, he’s not self obsessed. One’s films are not a measure of patriotism. So, even if an SRK has done Chak De India or a Veer Zaahra, the arrogant Khan had shamelessly expressed his disappointment over Pakistani players being thrown out of IPL post 26/11.

Entertainment journalists are privy to the utmost gentlemanly behaviour of Aamir Khan. Time and again, Aamir has stated whole heartedly that if need be, he would fight for his country on the battlefield. Those were not mere hollow words, but said with utmost conviction. He’s never shied away from slamming Pakistan for spreading terror in India. Aamir  has silently gone about his charity work, the only time he’s spoken about it was when the Modi government in Gujarat had banned his films over his backing for Rahul Dholakia’s film Parzania being banned in the state.

Being a through gentleman and nationalist, I would expect Aamir Khan to humbly apologise but do we only have to like our stars when they speak in anti-Pakistan or pro government tone? Honestly speaking, why do we only question the patriotism of the celebrities?

Whilst I don’t see any imminent threat to their security, but one mustn’t lose sight of the fact that Kiran Rao is mother to a young child. Isn’t the safety of their child a prime concern for any mother? Besides, the Khans don’t become ant-nationals if they seek to move out of the country. Truth be told, more than 70 per cent of urban middle and lower class dream of going to the west. Seldom are days when you don’t find people around you moaning the lack of good life in India.  Are we going to term crores of such citizens as anti-nationals?

It must also be noted that the Bollywood seems to have developed an anti-Modi attitude ever since the appointment of Pahlaj Nihalani as censor board chief and Gajendra Chauhan being named the FTII director.

While Aamir’s ‘leave India concern’ is exaggerated, we must not discount Aamir’s statement on ISIS militancy, where he’s condemned the cowardly attacks in Paris, and felt that such rogue ideology is increasingly being disfavoured by the community at large.

The excessive media coverage has only given a chance to buffoons posing as activists to gain free publicity. Such protest also results in unnecessary deployment of police force, who other wise would be better served at addressing more serious law and order issues.

I would request my media brethren and the citizens to not be too harsh on Aamir Khan. Often Bollywood celebs have shied away from commenting on social issues, but it’s a pleasant surprise that finally they are voicing their concerns. I may not agree with their views, but one would be glad if these celebs are not choosy in voicing their dissent. I wonder how of our stars moaned over tales of rapes in ‘madrasas;, forced conversion?

In each of his foregin visit, Prime Minister Modi has been waxing lyrical over the cultural diversity of India, and for this diversity to be maintained, it’s very important each citizen, not just celebrities, raise their voice against the social ills plaguing the nation. However, a little bit of diplomacy would ensure that our celebs don’t contemplate leaving the nation.

Ah, when is the apology coming though Mr.Khan?


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