Bollywood unites behind Muslim actorsJuly 28th, 2008 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Outright condemnation or tight-lipped silence. India’s film fraternity Monday united behind its Muslim actors — including the four Khans Shah Rukh, Aamir, Salman and Saif — who have been threatened by the little known Indian Mujahideen outfit that has also claimed responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts. The group has purportedly written an email stating that Muslim actors must stop working in films immediately or face death. The email was received Sunday, a day after 21 blasts killed 50 people and injured 200 in Gujarat’s main city Ahmedabad.
Prashant Pandey, writer of Ram Gopal Varma’s “Contract”, an action thriller that released last week and is said to be uncannily similar to how the Ahmedabad blasts played out, said it was unfortunate if actors were being targeted in the name of religion.
“An actor has no religion. One cannot categorise an actor on that basis. His persona is different as an individual both on and off-screen,” Pandey told IANS.
Renowned director Aziz Mirza, whose “Kismat Konnection” has just been released, said terrorists must be cold shouldered.
“The terrorists are stupid guys. You don’t react to them. You just negate them. They can do whatever they want. Nobody listens to mad dogs. Nobody in the industry will give a reaction.”
According to Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh, people were “shocked but the producers, writers, directors or even the actors have not issued any statement on this yet”.
Describing the threats as “very sad and very unfortunate”, Adarsh said: “At the moment, there have been no official reports in the industry. What do actors have to do with the attacks? It is a free country and one has the right to do whatever she or he wants to.”
Actor-turned-filmmaker Sanjay Khan, a Muslim by religion, refused to comment on the threats and just said: “I think this is a media created hype and it is completely blowing matters out of proportion. I don’t want to contribute and give more air to this (issue). There is no threat to Bollywood so far as all of this is concerned.”
Filmmaker Jagmohan Mundra, whose next release “Shoot on Sight” is a film on international terrorism, added: “Indian Muslims have not been associated with terrorist activities till date and if some of them have started taking part in such activities, then it is really sad for our country.
“India has always been a secular country and Bollywood has always advocated its secular character. A warning by a handful of people will definitely not matter to the industry.”
Others refused to talk.
Actress Juhi Chawla and choreographer-director Farah Khan, both close associates of Shah Rukh, declined to comment on the threat.
Veteran actress and Saif Ali Khan’s mother Sharmila Tagore did not respond on being contacted either.
Shah Rukh also did not react to any calls or messages on the issue.
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