The film industry’s silence on the controversy generated by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s provocative remarks on Prophet Muhammad during a TV discussion was recently discussed by veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah. Shah argued in an interview with NDTV that the country’s biggest artists have too much to lose by speaking out. He also spoke on the rise of what he called “pseudo-patriotic” films like The Kashmir Files.
Shah said about the Khans, “I cannot speak for them. I am not in the position they are in. I feel they think they would be risking too much. But then, I don’t know how they explain to their own conscience about it. But I think they are in a position where they have too much to lose.”
He cited the ‘witch-hunt’ of Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan as an example. “What happened to Shah Rukh Khan and the dignity with which he faced it was admirable. It was nothing but a witch-hunt. He has kept his mouth shut. All he did was support Trinamool and applaud Mamata Banerjee. Sonu Sood gets raided. Anyone who makes any statement gets a response. Maybe I am next. I don’t know. (laughs) Though they won’t find anything.”
Last year, the Narcotics Control Bureau arrested Aryan Khan in a drugs bust onboard a Goa-bound cruise ship, and he was jailed for many weeks before being granted free. The NCB recently gave Aryan and five others a clean chit due to a “lack of substantial evidence” in their charge sheet.
Shah also mentioned actors and filmmakers who are involved in projects that are seen as nationalistic.
Asked about Akshay Kumar’s recent output and Vivek Agnihotri’s blockbuster film The Kashmir Files, Shah said, “They want to be on the winning side.” He called The Kashmir Files ‘an almost fictionalised version of the suffering of Kashmiri Hindus’ and said that the ‘government is promoting it’.