This past week has seen SRK’s personal opinion on intolerance snowball into an uncontrollable fireball.
While the Bollywood fraternity among others stand with the megastar, many, like Indian political party BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, have targeted SRK for his remarks regarding increasing religious ‘intolerance’ in India.
On numerous occasions the star has been subject to questions regarding his patriotism, which he has said was “the most degrading and hurtful” experience of his life.
Amid all the controversy, renowned journalist, Barkha Dutt has penned an open letter to “India’s most beloved star” in the Hindustan Times expressing grief over the unfortunate situation. She claims that this is the “second or third time” her interviews have landed him in the middle of “nonsensical and shameful controversy”.
She lauded the actor for his sense of humour and wrote, “You have been willing, on more than one occasion, to third-eye yourself and make a joke or two without any of the pomposity and self-importance that is so typical of others in your fraternity.”
She praised his “self-deprecating wit” when talking to “intrusive, tasteless” media personnel when they probed too far.
Barkha pens the time when SRK got into a scuffle at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai two years ago. An official “whispered a communal slur to you, an abuse that once again targeted you for your religion,” she wrote.
Fast forward to 2015 and SRK is still trying to prove a point to all the naysayers. “To all those, telling me to go to Pakistan, this is my country, I am not going anywhere. So shut up, just shut up,” said SRK in an interview with Barkha.
Dutt writes about how she wanted to cheer the superstar when he said “religion cannot be defined or showed respect to by our meat-eating habits” in regards to the ban on beef in India.
“And despite what the Sena threatened you with in 2010, you reiterated your support for creative people from Pakistan to be given space in our films,” she added, while commending the actor for not shying away from speaking about important issues.
“What’s most sickening is how you’re now being told that the fact that a ‘Khan’ can be so popular is proof of India’s secularism,” she wrote. To which SRK had earlier responded, “Khan shining is not India shining.”
She writes how the “gross subtext is that you should be grateful for a country where so many Hindus are fans of a Muslim star. It’s been left to you to point out that the tokenism of the ‘three Khans of Bollywood’ is the very antithesis of secularism”.
“You, Shah Rukh — the real life man — not Raj or Rahul, your screen avatars — are my hero. But shamefully, I must admit — We don’t deserve you,” she concluded.