Actor and BJP sympathiser Anupam Kher will now lead a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan to protest against Award Wapsi, calling the campaign by a section of filmmakers and actors an attempt to tarnish India’s image.
“There is no threat to democracy. Vested interests intolerant to the Narendra Modi government are behind this campaign,” the veteran actor, whose wife and actor Kirron Kher is a BJP parliamentarian from Chandigarh, told India Today on Wednesday.
Kher said he will meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday with a contingent of top Bollywood actors and even common men. “It will be a campaign for truth,” Kher said.
After a host of filmmakers, including names like Dibakar Banerjee and Anand Patwardhan, returned various government awards and honours they had received to express solidarity with the agitating FTII students, a few members of the Hindi film fraternity termed it as a “publicity gimmick” and an “insult”.
Apart from Kher, filmmakers Madhur Bhandarkar and Ashoke Pandit are leading the group which called the step by protesting filmmakers “disrespectful” and “politically-motivated”. Last week, apart from Banerjee and Patwardhan, Paresh Kamdar, Nishtha Jain, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Hari Nair, Rakesh Sharma, Indraneel Lahiri and Lipika Singh Darai returned their national awards.
“This #AwardWapsiGang has not insulted the government, but the jury, the chairman of the jury and the audience who watched their films,” Kher had tweeted in response last week. “Some of these usual suspects of #AwardWapsiGang were instrumental in getting me out of Censor Board the moment Congress came in Power. #Agenda,” added the veteran actor.
The churn within the film fraternity also comes in the middle of a raging controversy over the comments made by superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who told India Today earlier this week that there is extreme intolerance in India, a remark that has been slammed by the BJP and its affiliates.
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