One of Bollywood’s top actors, Mumbai-born Aamir Hussein Khan, has now joined the list of Muslim actors being demonized by prime minister Modi’s ruling BJP party, like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. In fact, BJP prefers to see a Bollywood without Muslim actors and directors.
Aamir Khan was condemned by Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Venkaiah Naidu, and leaders of BJP’s allies for criticizing India’s religious intolerance toward religious minorities especially the 140 million Muslim minority.
Munna Kumar Sharma, national secretary of Hindu Mahasabha political party has demanded that either Aamir convert to Hinduism or immigrate to neighboring Muslim-majority Pakistan. Incidentally, Aamir Khan’s ex-wife Reena Dutt (1986-2002) is also Hindu. Both have two children from that marriage (here). There are plenty of Muslim-Hindu mix marriages in Bollywood.
Aamir Khan, 50, rocked Hindutva boat by saying at a journalism award ceremony that there was a growing sense of fear, insecurity and despondency in the country, and that when he discussed this with his film-maker Hindu wife, Kiran Rao, she wondered whether the family should move out of India.
“It is disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child, what the atmosphere around us will be, she feels scared to open the newspaper every day. There is a growing sense of disquiet, and despondency. You feel depressed, you feel low. Why is this happening?” Khan said.
In response to being labeled some sort of traitor, Aamir Khan said: “I stand by everything that I have said in my interview. To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission nor endorsement for that.”
In his statement, Aamir said: “To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point.”
Accusing the BJP of indulging in fascist and discriminative politics, the Samajwadi Party (SP) came out in open support of Aamir. Senior SP leader and cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav told reporters in Jaunpur in UP: “Aamir does not need to leave the country. He can live anywhere in UP.”
On November 25, Soutik Biswas wrote at BBC: “Many believe Khan was spot on. In drawing-rooms in recent months, friends and acquaintances have told me that they worry about India – the dull economy, shambolic criminal-justice system, unchecked corruption, the fussing about non-issues, and now the acts of intolerance and the coarse and polarised levels of debate – and they would prefer their children to leave. There is a sense that the immense hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had offered before sweeping to power last year is fast slipping away.”
Since the beginning of this year, over hundred of Indian academics, authors, artists, journalists, etc. have returned their national awards in protest to Hindu extremism under prime minister Modi’s Hindutva government (here).
Watch below, ten of Aamir Khan’s best movies.