Dear Aamir Khan,
Now that you have had your say on intolerance, can you please get back to work? Of course, we knew you are not leaving the country, neither is Kiran; you didn't even have to say it. If you are wounded by all the nastiness thrown at you, remember work is a wonderful healer.
You are an icon, and in India, icons transcend narrow identities. They are not judged as Hindu, Muslim, this or that. No one, I know of, thinks of Amitabh Bachchan or Sachin Tendulkar as Hindus or Shah Rukh, Salman and you as Muslims. That is the beauty of India. Small people cannot change that, try howsoever hard they may.
You are right when you say that over the last few months there’s a sense of disquiet in the country. If that was not the case, the topic of intolerance would not be occupying the national mindspace in the first place. The fear could be all imagination and no substance, still, take the politics out of it and it’s a good issue to be raised. I don’t think you were being political when you said what you said. No rational mind would support thugs of different shades threatening people, asking them what to eat, and how to live. If people are bent on linking this lot to an ideology and a political party, it cannot be your fault.
I know you are being asked a lot of questions challenging your integrity these days. Intolerance is in India’s DNA; why are you making a big deal out of it? They ask. Why were you silent when this or that was happening? Which country does not have intolerance? It goes on. It’s like saying rapes have been happening in India for ages, there’s no need for someone to take umbrage if it happens now. There can be no answer to such silly questions. Don’t dignify these people with an answer. The most appropriate response would be silence. Stay silent on these.
We live in highly politicised times. Everything you say or do is likely to be interpreted in terms of political leaning. If you have bothered to notice, your movie PK had more combustible content for controversy than what you said a couple of days ago. Still your remark on intolerance generated more controversy than your movie. The difference between the two is a bit convoluted. Both were talking about religion, one directly and the other in a covert manner. If you feel like the confused-by-the-ways- of-humans alien you portrayed in PK now, blame it on the political temper of our times. Speak on issues if you must, but be mindful of the connotations it might assume.
You maintained silence over the subject for so long. You expressed yourself only when the media asked you to talk about it. Now that you have been honest about it, the hate crowd is out to lynch you. You had the option not to open your mouth. But that could have been interpreted in another way. People say you revived a dead topic unnecessarily. Rest assured, you didn’t. The media did it. A month later they will ask the same question to someone else and if he replies he will accused of taking sides. Keep off the media; they love controversies. But if you want to speak up, that’s entirely your choice.
Invite the venerable Anupam Kher for tea. Help him out of bitterness towards people he seems to have developed of late. Convince him that it’s fine to have a political view and opinion on issues, but it’s not necessary to engage in verbal duel every time someone says something that appears to be hurting the interest of a political party or a political person. Convince him that the creative community is special. Political leaning does not define it nor does it give it success; talent does. It is bad when talented people become political enemies. If he is anywhere close to the amiable screen characters he plays often, then he will be attentive.
Coming back to you being an icon, your place will always special. Focus on what made you one.
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