Aamir Khan's countrytext_fields
'Why Aamir Khan is more dangerous than Zakir Naik' – This was the headline of a recent article on a pro-Sangh Parivar web portal. With his artistry, Aamir Khan aka Muhammad Aamir Hussain Khan is an actor who has already marked his personality within the realms of Bollywood cinema. 'Laal Singh Chaddha' with Aamir Khan as the lead actor and produced under his own production house, Aamir Khan Productions, is slated to release on August 11. There is a widespread social media campaign going on against the film. Boycott Aamir Khan, Boycott Laal Singh Chaddha, and Boycott Bollywood hashtags are being shared widely on social networking sites including Twitter. But the reason why there has been a boycott call for this movie is not clear in these campaigns. Twitter handles that seem to lean towards Sangh Parivar's ideologies are at the forefront of the campaign.
'Laal Singh Chaddha' has been produced as a remake of the 1994 Hollywood film 'Forrest Gump'. It is common in the industry to shoot remakes of films that have already been released or have been released in other regions. The production work of 'Laal Singh Chaddha' began after the remake rights from the owners of 'Forrest Gump' were acquired. 'Laal Singh Chaddha' has been facing criticisms from the film industry for being a copy of 'Forrest Gump'. But accusing a declared remake film of being a copy does not make sense. Now, if it is indeed a problem, why not raise criticism and leave it at that? Why is there a call for the boycott of an actor in the film, and Bollywood as a whole? It is then that some other agenda in the works happen to be noticed.
Sangh Parivar already holds a grudge against Bollywood. One of the reasons for their hatred is the lofty position accorded to the Khan Trinity in Bollywood, three Muslim actors who are at the top of the industry. Bollywood as a whole has always remained a secular space. The industry does not function according to the cultural goals of the Sangh Parivar. Bollywood is unique as a secular space that represents India's inherent diversity and tolerance. Hence, their agenda is to denigrate Bollywood and destroy its credibility. The most recent example of this is the drug case against Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan and its aftermath. Recall the raids orchestrated by the Narcotics Control Bureau which essentially targeted a child. The National Investigative Agency went after a young man with such ruthless intelligence, although it was later proven to be just a sham.
A statement recently made by Aamir Khan is thought-provoking. 'I am an Indian; I love India; Please don't boycott my films.' Imagine a situation where an Indian artist of world renown has to stand in front of the media and beg them not to boycott his film. The campaign against 'Laal Singh Chaddha' is not because it contains anti-Hindutva messages. It is rather because it is a film by Aamir Khan. In 2015, Aamir Khan stated that intolerance is spreading in India. Fearing the future of her children, Aamir's then-wife Kiran Rao had said that she was thinking of leaving India. Since then, Hindutva Vadis have constantly declared their hatred for Aamir. The campaign against Laal Singh Chaddha can only be seen as a continuation of that trend. In recent times, there has been a spate of biopic films inciting fanatical nationalism and glorifying the Hindu kings and warriors of yesteryear. Ajay Devgn's 'Tanhaji', which recently won the National Award for Best Actor, is an example. And it was for his performance in the said film that Devgn won the award.
Akshay Kumar, who is settled in Canada, is another favourite filmmaker of Hindutva fans. His movies are mostly about extreme nationalism and hatred for Muslim dynasties in India. It must have been disheartening for them to see films fail at the box office despite having the patronage of the Sangh Parivar. Bollywood is India's mirror to the world. The reception for Bollywood movies in foreign countries is astounding. In another sense, Bollywood is an important export commodity and soft power of India. But the sad fact is that people from the ruling party itself come forward to destroy it just because it does not dance to their tunes!