Actor Naseeruddin Shah has said that the three Khans–Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan–still rule Bollywood, ‘unchallenged’. However, he added that that by speaking on socio-political issues, they stand to ‘lose’ a lot.
Naseeruddin is known for speaking openly on matters of religious discrimination in India or overseas. Recently, he was caught up in midst of a controversy for condemning those who were ‘celebrating’ the return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. However, actors such Shah Rukh, Salman, Aamir, have refrained from making comments on the same.
Naseer has now said that they choose to stay quiet as the stakes are higher in their case. Speaking to NDTV, he said, “Obviously they’re worried because of the extent of harassment they will be subjected to.” He added, “I cannot speak for them but I can imagine they have so much to lose. They would be subjected to all kinds, all manner of harassment, not just financial. Their entire establishments will get harassed.”
In a video that went viral on Twitter, Naseer had said every Indian Muslim must introspect if they want ‘reform and modernity’ in the religion or live with dated ‘barbarian’ values. “Even as the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan is a cause for concern for the whole world, celebrations of the barbarians in some sections of the Indian Muslims is no less dangerous. Every Indian Muslim should ask themselves if they want reform and modernity in Islam or the barbarian values of the past few centuries,” he had said in the video.
“Indian Islam has always been different from the rest of the world. May God not bring a time when it changes so much that we don’t even recognise it,” he had added.
Later, 150 citizens from various walks of life, condemned the alleged “hounding” of Naseeruddin and lyricist Javed Akhtar, over their remarks, in a statement. These included former navy chief admiral (retd) Laxminarayan Ramdas, documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, film writer Anjum Rajabali, author John Dayal, activist Teesta Setalvad and Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Zoya Hasan.