Days after a section of Bollywood artistes appealed the people to vote for a secular candidate, some others, including actor Vivek Oberoi and director Madhur Bhandarkar, on Saturday came out in support of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Bhandarkar said it was the appeal to vote for a secular candidate which prompted him to bat openly for Modi.
The appeal to vote for secularism was the brainchild of writer Anjum Rajabali, which was endorsed by Mahesh Bhatt, Nandita Das, Zoya Akhtar, Kabir Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Vijay Krishna Acharya, singer Shubha Mudgal and others. It said though corruption and governance were important issues, the country’s secular character was “not negotiable”.
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On Saturday, Oberoi, Bhandarkar, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, Ashok Pandit, designer Vikram Phadnis, lawyer Satish Mane-Shinde (known for handling the cases of Bollywood stars) and some others declared their support for Modi.
“What they (Rajbali and others) did was wrong, it was absurd and obnoxious. Today’s briefing (to press) was uncalled for if something like this had not come…then we wouldn’t have had this thing. Let people decide who they want to vote for….What right you have to tell people all this?” said Bhandarkar.
“Film industry is secular but there are some people who decide to do this because of their personal agenda. Creativity has no boundaries and cinema is a creative medium. We see cinema of all kinds, be it Italian, American, Indian etc, not because who is acting in it or making it but the creativity attracts us,” he said.
“There are people from the industry who are supporting Modi, but no one ever came and asked people or spoke about pro-Modi campaign. There is reaction for an action. I wouldn’t have reacted if all this had not come out,” Madhur said.
Oberoi and others attended an event here, where people from various walks of life expressed support for Modi.
Film-maker Agnihotri said Rajbali and others should have clearly named Modi in their appeal. “I would have appreciated that, but what they did was a hypocrisy,” he said.
“As a citizen I want someone who can give results, bring in growth and development, ensure there are no strikes, Bharat bandh, terrorism and law and order is in place. I think Modi is a political innovator,” he said.
Filmmaker and activist Ashok Pandit too said that never before the Bollywood had sided with a particular party or candidate.
“It is a game played in the name of secularism. No one has the right to confuse or tell or influence people who to vote for. You can’t call it an appeal from Bollywood,” he said.