Anupam Kher is in the news again. Last week his film Buddha In A Traffic Jam was screened at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi midst loud protests.
Anupam wonders who these protesters are and what their motive is. “My director Vivek Agnihotri and I took Buddha In A Traffic Jam to JNU because the film shows exactly the situation we see in the JNU. We felt it has relevance and a resonance that the students of JNU would appreciate. And we were right. Around 4000 boys and girls saw the film.”
It was Anupam’s speech before the screening of Buddha In A Traffic Jam that has triggered off a controversy.
Explains Anupam, “I personally wanted to convey to the students that such a great institution like the JNU should not be remembered for these controversies. It was important for me to remind the students that slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ‘Jai Hind’, ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ were not just slogans but what the institute stands for. To have it reduced to a hotbed of politics is a very sad thing to happen. It was important for me to remind them that the freedom they enjoy is granted to them by Indian democracy and the constitution.”
Anupam is reluctant to speak about Kanhaiya Kumar. “Too much attention is being given to this one student. He needs to focus on his education and not on politics. I’ll say this. A boy who is accused of anti-national activities, who was put behind bars and is out on bail under strictures by the honourable judge, should not be speaking so much and so loosely. Certain sections of the press are portraying him as a hero.”
About a self-styled Muslim leader refusing to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ Anupam says, “By his refusal he just wants us to give him attention. And we’re playing into his hand. I am sure the kind of freedom that he is enjoying would not be granted to him in any other country including the Muslim countries. I am sure he has no problem with saying ‘Bharat’ ‘Ki’ and ‘Jai’. If he wants he change ‘Mata’ to ‘Ammi’ he is welcome to do so. A mother by another name is just as sacred.”
About his colleague Javed Akhtar’s rousing farewell speech in Rajya Sabha, “It came from the heart and made an impact.”