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Bollywood rallies around Aamir

The film industry has in one voice condemned the ban on Fanaa and stated that it supports superstar Aamir all the way.

May 31, 2006

Bollywood has finally come out in support for superstar Aamir Khan, albeit a little late in the day. Fanaa has not been allowed to be screened in Gujarat by political parties over the dam controversy. After a lot of speculation in the media as to why there was no concerted support for Aamir in the film fraternity, the matter was put to rest by filmmakers and actors who got together on Monday evening.

The meeting was called by the Association of Motion Pictures and Television Programme Producers of India, and Film and Television Producers Guild of India. Those present included Yash Chopra, Anil Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, Pahlaj Nihalani, Anupam Kher, Sajid Nadiadwala, Amit Khanna, Ashutosh Gowarikar and Ronnie Screwvala. They all said that Aamir Khan, as an individual, had the right to express his opinion. 

Actor Anil Kapoor said, "I am not a political person and I don't have political ambitions. But I feel whatever happened to Aamir and Fanaa is not right. Look into your hearts and see if there is anything wrong in what Aamir is saying. The answer is no. Today, the world is looking forward to India because it is a rising power. If we do such things in our country, we are not practicing democracy. Aamir has a right to his opinion."

Actor Anupam Kher added, "Aamir is not doing this for publicity. He felt that the people who were affected by the construction of the dam needed homes, so he spoke in their favour. There was nothing wrong in it. We support him. Ours is a democratic country and we all have a right to express dissent in a democratic way even to our government if we feel they are wrong."

Yesteryears hero and BJP legislator Shatrughan Sinha however said that Aamir does not know enough about the issue to comment and his behaviour was irresponsible. Producer Pahlaj Nihalani responded to Sinha's comment by saying that Sinha was not a representative of the film industry and his views were that of the political party he is associated with.

Yash Chopra, the producer of Fanaa, said that he was making a loss of Rs 1 crore every day on the movie from Gujarat. The group that assembled to support Aamir said that they want the Gujarat government to ensure that Fanaa is released in Gujarat this week otherwise they would have to come up with alternative plans. 

Meanwhile, superstar Hrithik Roshan has also come out in support of Aamir. "I am ashamed to live in a country where one political party can use the power given to them by the people to try and punish an individual for his opinion and rob him of his democratic rights. And only because he believes in a righteous cause that goes against the interests of the political party concerned," Hrithik said in an interview. He further added, "The concerned party has shown the highest level of immaturity by trying to use power to stop the screening of Fanaa in an attempt to scare off Aamir and thereby threatening the entire film fraternity against taking a stance on any social or political issue in the future."

Predictably, the NBA is also supporting Aamir. The NBA condemned the ban on Fanaa saying that such fanaticism and intolerance was unacceptable to them. "These kind of intimidatory tactics are used by Gujarati politicians out of timidity and intolerance because they realised the civil society's strength and support to NBA, especially that of eminent persons joining us," it said in a statement.

Fanaa along with Krrish was expected to rake in the moolah this year and salvage the low-voltage performance by the industry in the first half this year. Although despite the no-show in Gujarat the film has earned more than Rs 2.2 million since its release.

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