It has been an eventful week when eminent film makers beyond Bollywood raised a hue and cry on the beef ban, lynching publicly over the word “beef” itself, and an anti-Hindutva stand over pseudo-secularism that political parties and popular leaders have been preaching and practicing for a while now. National awards, which are considered as one of the greatest accolades for films nationally, are finding their way back to the Jury. Some filmmakers like Dibakar Banerjee questioned the Government, lamenting on how it’s secular credentials have taken a beating. On the other hand, eminent actors such as Anupam Kher rubbished the idea stating that the return of a national award was an insult to the jury. He questioned the motives of those returning their award, and wondered what provoked the selective outrage. The actor went on to suggest that it was a deliberate attempt to embarrass the Prime Minister and the BJP. The debate went viral on social media for days. However, little did one expect the hue and cry to take such a sharp turn till the Badshah of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan got involved in a spat with a noteworthy BJP leader.
Things got out of hand when Hindutva leader and MP Adityanath controversially compared Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafeez Saeed. He further added that though Shah Rukh Khan lived in India, his heart remains in Pakistan and hence, he should start preparing to move to that country. There was outrage across social media. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too disapproved the statements made by Adityanath. BJP too distanced itself from the Hindutva leader and Kailash Vijayvargiya’s baseless comments against the superstar. They clarified that there could be no comparison between a law abiding icon of the country with a Pakistani terrorist. BJP officials spoke to the media denouncing such comments and cleared the air. Now on the defensive, the party chief called for an immediate meeting stating that the country was going through a bad time with Dadri and the beef controversies all over the country and hence, everyone should be careful of what sort of comments they make publicly as that directly reflects the party’s ideology. BJP leader Srikant Sharma took this occasion to typically blame the Congress stating that this was an opportunity seized by the party, hiring writers across the media, publishing articles and promoting yellow journalism in order to create a divide within the BJP Government. Fringe elements need to be reined in and the BJP needs to send out a strong message to loud-mouths in the party.