“On my birthday last year, a simple thing said by me was presented in a very inappropriate and derogatory manner by a certain section of the media. I hold it against them. Maine achchi baat kahi thi, shareef baat kahi thi for the youth of the country,” said a visibly hurt Shah Rukh Khan during a press conference on the occasion of Eid at his home yesterday. Mr Khan was asked about the recent terror attacks and how they are being linked with one particular religion. He said that his birthday had been spoilt by gross misrepresentation of his appeal for secularism in India and he requested not to ask about things that may spoil his Eid.
Aamir Khan was asked by the media about the recent spate of terror acts in the world during a press meet on the occasion of Eid yesterday. He said that anyone spreading terror doesn’t have anything to do with religion even though he may belong to any religion but he has nothing to do with religion. When probed further Aamir refused to comment further. Salman Khan has been hounded by a certain section of the media in the most insensitive manner on the ‘Rape Comment’. Apology has been demanded from him in crass uncouth manner by upstart journos. His father has been hammered with queries on Salman’s marriage at odd hours.
The manner in which prime time cacophonous debates on the three Khans have happened in the last few months and the one sided ridicule meted out to them by certain newspapers is a cause of concern. Salman Khan’s Sultan has had a historic opening. The film espouses the cause of the girl child and equality for men and women. This film will do far more for the girl child than many of the tom tommed schemes that yield little results. Aamir Khan has done amazing work through Satyamev Jayate on varied social ills afflicting India. His work for water conservation is exemplary. His films like Rang De Basanti, Lagaan, Mangal Pandey andSarfarosh have promoted nationalism to varied generations of Indians. Films like Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiotsand PK have made immense contributions to positively impacting the social fabric of the country. Shah Rukh Khan is one of the most popular actors in the world. Many people across the world know about India because of Shah Rukh Khan. His dad was a freedom fighter. SRK has spread innate Indian cultural values to millions of people. The three Khans, despite their human frailties, are prized possessions of India and they surely deserve better treatment.
The systematic hate campaign that sprang into action post Salman Khan’s tweets on Yakub Mennon, Shah Rukh Khan’s appeal for secularism and Aamir Khan’s concern for the impact of a particular ideology tarnishing the imprint of Indian Constitution is unprecedented. Salman is lucky because his dad Salim Khan does brilliant damage control but the repugnant manner in which his court case was ridiculed by certain news anchors is condemnable. The same news anchors came down heavily on Aamir and Shah Rukh as well. Gross misrepresentation campaign was spread out that impacted public opinion.
After the poster launch of Dangal, the twitter trend ‘Deshdrohi ka Dangal’ reminded one and all that the systematic plan to sabotage the release of Dangal is very much on. When I saw some of the tweets of this trend then I realised a few twitter handles were repeatedly tweeting. It generally happens when paid trolls are involved. The responsibility is on the various government agencies to ensure that boycotting something voluntarily is fine but no one can take law in their hands and forcibly stop the screening of a film.
Media houses who thrive on sensationalism must take a note of the hurt that Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan have expressed in no uncertain terms. Yes they ensure much bigger TRPs than other stars but that doesn’t mean that their quotes are selectively used as per convenience. Salman’s ‘rape comment’ was unfortunate and indefensible but he regretted saying it two seconds later and that wasn’t highlighted at all. It is media’s responsibility to present things in their complete context and refrain from sabotaging the image of stars who are heroes in real life as well. Now, the news channels must play Shah Rukh’s refusal to comment on a particular topic (his religion is definitely the reason why he was asked the particular question in the first place). They should also present the reason why he refused. Media should encourage freedom of expression and not stifle it. It is time to think!