“Can Bollywood survive Modi?” “Aatish Taseer predicts” heartbreaking “confrontation
New Delhi: Narendra Modi’s government and the ruling BJP use “powerful tools to restrict the creative freedom of Bollywood, especially the influence of Muslims, who have an outsized presence in the industry,” wrote the British author of Indian origin Aatish Taseer in Atlantic, drawing a parallel with “the old Hollywood blacklist”.
Using personal references, the author known for his anti-establishment opinion wrote that Prime Minister Modi and his party do not view India as a composite culture, to which Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians have viewed all contributed, but rather as a “predominantly Hindu culture.” entity whose destiny is to provoke a Hindu cultural renaissance ”.
“There is a heart-wrenching fatality to the Bollywood and Modi BJP confrontation,” Taseer wrote.
He called the Prime Minister’s meeting with several big Bollywood celebrities, followed by the famous selfie, “an episode of appeasement or perhaps opportunism on the part of elements of the industry”, and said that the absence of any Muslim director or actor indicated that “Modi wanted a new Bollywood, one that was kidney-Muslim.”
“Muslims have always had a disproportionate influence in Bollywood. Actors such as Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have dominated the Indian cinema landscape for 30 years… hate-mongers – have made some of his most serious social media attacks against Muslims in Bollywood, ”pointed out Taseer.
Taseer is the son of senior Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and former governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province Salmaan Taseer. He has written several books, including Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands, The Temple Goers, The Twice Born.
In 2019, Taseer’s Overseas Indian Citizenship (OCI) card was revoked by the Home Office for failing to “comply with basic requirements and hide information about his father’s Pakistani origin. Required for its renewal.
In his opinion piece in The Atlantic, Taseer said that the measures pushed by the Modi government against Bollywood include “indiscriminate tax investigations, trumped-up charges against actors and directors, intimidation and harassment in response. to some movies and TV shows, and the law enforcement spooky rap at the door.
He clarified the incident when Amir Khan’s wife and director Kiran Rao were trolled on her. remarks of intolerance and also the trolling of Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor for naming their child after a Muslim ruler.
He also mentioned how Karan Johar, who is the “Hindu half of a historic collaboration with Shah Rukh Khan”, was criticized during the nepotism debate after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput last year, and tries “to remake himself frantically in the image of Modi’s India”.
In March of this year, the homes of filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapse Pannu were raided by the Income Tax Department – both “are vocal critics of the government,” in Taseer’s words.
Read also : Aatish Taseer becomes US citizen, months after Modi’s government revoked his OCI card
The silence of Bollywood
Fearing that worse to come, Bollywood has remained mostly silent in the face of the government’s “catastrophic response” to the coronavirus pandemic, Taseer added.
He referred to a conversation with a woman closely involved in the industry, who said everyone is trying to “keep a low profile” because it is a “vindictive government”.
Taseer also spoke of the controversies over Tandav (Amazon Prime Video series) and film Padmaavat, who were accused of hurting the religious feelings of part of the public.
Quoting a “senior executive at a major streaming service”, Taseer wrote that the problem with Tandav was that “the director is Muslim and the actor is Muslim”.
Director Ali Abbas Zafar, Tandav, has Saif Ali Khan in the lead role.
The death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput last year gave the BJP government a “new opportunity,” Taseer wrote, adding: “With elections looming in Bihar, Rajput’s home state, the BJP has makes his suicide a murder by a nepotist and drugged elite. ”He said the campaign was led by actor Kangana Ranaut.
It is unclear whether Bollywood will emerge with its character intact, he wrote.
Taseer also mentioned that he dated a Bollywood director, which gave him insight into the Indian film industry and even a chance to go to a private dinner with actors like Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif.
“Bollywood’s only chance for survival, given the weakness of Indian institutions, lies in its ability to stick together and muster its star power,” he concluded.
Read also : Stop Targeting Aatish Taseer, Says Committee to Protect Journalists in Modi Government
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