Anupam Kher leads 'March for India'
A march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan was led by actor Anupam Kher in protest against the outcry over "intolerance" in India. The actor alleged that the "intolerance debate" was an endeavour to slander the perception of the country and was designed to malign the Modi government at the Centre. He further said that Indians were secular people.
Speaking on the decision of directors who returned their National Awards in order to show solidarity with the protesting FTII students against Gajendra Singh's appointment, actor Anupam Kher said that was motivated by "agenda". Anupam Kher called the group of directors- the "Award Wapsi Gang". He said that by doing this the directors were only insulting the jury and audience who watched their movies.
Anupam Kher speaking on Dibakar Banerjee returned his award and others quitting posts at the Sahitya Akademi said that the moves were 'politically motivated'. He further condemned them for being responsible for him being sacked as the Censor Board Chief in 2004 by UPA government led by Manmohan Singh. He tweeted saying the 'gang' consisted of people who did not want Modi as PM.
In a contradictory turn of events Kher tweeted against a BJP minister saying, "Some members of the BJP really need to control their tongue & stop talking rubbish about @iamsrk. He is a national icon & We r PROUD of him".
Kher's stance was praised by social activist and filmaker Asoke Pandit and Paresh Rawal. However, many on Twitter came out against Kher saying that if the returning of the awards was an insult to the jury, what was his agenda. Another said that Kher was "confused whether he is actor, host, protester, politician, debater or a blind Modi bhakt".
Arundhati Roy became the next writer to return her National Award for Best Screenplay (1989) and joining the rising chorus of protest against 'growing intolerance' in India. Her move invited backlash from Anupam Ker who said that Roy had shamed India at a global level. He went on to question whether she was even an Indian given her 'anti-national' speeches.
Kher will be joined by the likes of Madhur Bhandarkar, Narendra Kohli, Ronu Majumdar, Chandraprakash Diwedi and Priyadarshan among others, in his "campaign for truth".