Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, whose recent comments on “sections of Indian Muslims celebrating the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan” got him into a controversy, has now opened up about how a few big Indian filmmakers and actors are being “encouraged” to make “pro-establishment” films.
The 71-year-old actor said that though he doesn’t hold proof about filmmakers and actors being promised a clean chit if they make propaganda films, he feels it is ‘obvious’ from the kind of big-ticket films being made these days.
“They are being encouraged by the government to make pro-government films, to make films lauding the efforts of our beloved leader. They also being financed, also promised a clean chit if they make movies which are propaganda, to put it bluntly,” he told NDTV, adding, “The kind of big-budget films that are coming. The big ones cannot disguise the jingoistic agenda.”
The three-time National Award winner, Shah also clarified that he has never felt any discrimination in the industry for being a Muslim. But, he mentioned that actors in the industry are harassed for speaking their minds. Talking about why the celebrated “three Khans” chose to stay silent, Naseeruddin said while he cannot speak for them, he can imagine the extent of harassment they will be subjected to. “They (the Khans) are worried because of the harassment they will be subjected to. They have so much to lose. It will not be just financial harassment, it is not about losing an endorsement or two. It’s a question of their entire establishments getting harassed,” he said. He added that anyone who dares to speak out is subjected to harassment. “It is not just Javed saab or me, it is anyone who speaks out against this right wing mentality and it is growing on both sides,” he said.
Naseeruddin Shah has been a part of the Indian film industry for almost five decades and has been a part of some great films like Nishant, Aakrosh, Mirch Masala, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai, Junoon, Mandi, Ardh Satya, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and several others.