Amidst the ongoing debate about ‘The Kerala Story’ ban and its exaggeration of numbers of women who reportedly joined the ISIS from Kerala, veteran Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah flagged concern about the rising Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric in the country.
Shah alleged that “Muslim hating” has become fashionable and is being campaigned through propaganda movies. The actor is one of Bollywood’s stalwarts who never shies away from speaking his mind. He frequently expresses his views on political decisions and has been a vocal critic of the ruling BJP party.
While talking to The Indian Express, Shah expressed his views and said that these are worrying times as certain propaganda movies are being amplified with an agenda. He added that the “mood on-screen” is an on-ground reflection.
“Oh sure, these are worrying times absolutely. The kind of stuff that’s pure, undisguised propaganda is being lapped up and it’s a reflection of the zeitgeist of the times. Muslim hate is fashionable these days, even among educated people. It’s what the ruling party has very cleverly tapped into this nerve. We talk about secular this, democracy that, so why are you introducing religion into everything?” Shah said during his interview with indianexpress.com.
However, Shah did not mention the name of any film during his interview. The industry veteran went on to say that some politicians have hijacked religious terms which they use to manipulate people to get votes during elections.
He took a dig at the Election Commission of India (ECI) and said that a religious war cry is being used during election campaigns and ECI is watching all this as a mute spectator instead of taking action against this kind of divisive politics.
Shah added if any Muslim leader had used Allahu Akbar during election rallies for votes the situation would have been different then. “I mean how spineless is the Election Commission of ours? Who doesn’t even dare utter a word? If there had been a Muslim leader who had said, ‘Allah Hu Akbar bol ke button dabao’, sh*t would have hit the fan,” Shah said.
Naseeruddin Shah expressed hope however, and said this divisive religion card will one day wear-off as even Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to use religion cards during election campaigns, but lost that badly.
“But here our Prime Minister goes ahead and says things like this and yet he loses. So, I have hope that this will wear off. But it’s definitely, at the moment, at its peak. It’s been a very clever card played by this government, and it has worked. Let’s see how long it continues to work,” he added.
The actor was last seen in the web series Taj: Divided by Blood, a fictional story based on the 16 century Kings. The story follows Akbar and the war of succession between his 3 sons: Salim, Murad, and Daniyal.