Actor Anupam Kher Friday took a dig at JNU students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, saying those who “speak against the country” and are out on bail are not “Olympic medalists” and should not be treated like “heroes”.
Kher made the comments during a screening of his film, Buddha in a Traffic Jam, organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at JNU, even as a group of students raised slogans against Kher while he was speaking at the Administrative Block.
The film’s director, Vivek Agnihotri, and CBFC member Ashok Pandit were also present for the screening. “Let us not change the definition of a hero. Someone who talks in favour of the nation is a hero. How can someone who speaks against the nation be a hero,” he said.
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He added, “I believe there will be some victory march today. People who have come out on bail have not come after winning an Olympic medal. They are not Sachin Tendulkar, Saina Nehwal or even Hanumanthappa.”
Kher spent a large part of his 15-minute speech talking about politics and nationalism. “I heard someone here said ‘desh se nahi, desh mein azadi chahiye’ (I seek freedom in my nation, not from it). Can you say that in your house? Can you say I want azadi in my house and not from my house,” said Kher.
He said JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was “not doing enough to help his poor parents”. “He repeatedly said his parents are very poor, but what did he do to fix that? What was his contribution? My father’s salary was Rs 90. When I got my first scholarship of Rs 200, I sent Rs 110 home. That was my contribution,” said the actor.
Talking about his film, which is about a “Naxal teacher brainwashing his student for his own politics”, Kher said, “Buddha in a Traffic Jam is the most contemporary film of our times. It’s ironic that three years ago, Vivekji (Agnihotri) thought of a film that was proved right three years later.”