Days after he denied links to two persons questioned by the Narcotics Control Bureau in its ongoing probe of Bollywood stars — one of the two was later arrested — filmmaker Karan Johar announced in a tweet addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday that the “film fraternity” will come together to portray the “valour, values and the culture of India” for the 75th Independence anniversary celebrations.
Johar called it “a fresh beginning of the grand era of storytelling to cherish the soul of the idea called ‘India’”. In a statement posted on Twitter, Johar said: “Drawing inspiration from our Honorable Prime Minister from whom we also seek sustained guidance, we the members of the film fraternity are privileged to announce our plan to celebrate the 75th year of Independence.”
Honourable PM @narendramodi ji…we are humbled & honoured to curate stories of our great nation whilst we celebrate 75 years of India’s independence @RajkumarHirani @aanandlrai @ektarkapoor #SajidNadiadwala #RohitShetty #DineshVijan #ChangeWithin #IndianFilmFraternity @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/zypmyRf2Qg
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) October 2, 2020
The tweet comes a week after Johar, responding to the ongoing NCB probe, said he had never consumed narcotic drugs nor promoted them, and that he did not know either of the two persons. He had also threatened legal action against “slanderous and malicious” statements and news that had “unnecessarily subjected me, my family, and my colleagues and Dharma Productions to hatred, contempt and ridicule”.
One of the two, Kshitij Prasad, an employee of a sister concern of Johar’s production house Dharma Productions, was arrested later.
A number of Bollywood stars, including Deepika Padukone, have been questioned so far in the NCB probe that gathered pace after the arrest of Rhea Chakaraborty in a case related to the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput.
In his announcement Friday, Johar said the film fraternity was “humbled and honoured to curate stories of our great nation whilst we celebrate 75 years of India’s independence”. He tagged other filmmakers such as Rajkumar Hirani, Aanand L Rai, Ekta Kapoor, Sajid Nadiadwala, Rohit Shetty and Dinesh Vijan as those would be handling projects as part of this initiative.
Johar, too, is expected to helm some of the projects, which will be part of the Hirani-spearheaded #ChangeWithin initiative to mark the industry’s commitment to “nation-building”.
Last October, several Bollywood A-listers had travelled in a group to Delhi for a meeting with Prime Minister Modi and agreed to make films projecting Mahatma Gandhi’s life and values. The #ChangeWithin initiative was discussed at the meeting. Johar did not participate but was present at an earlier such meeting in January 2019. A selfie taken at the meeting with Modi was used widely by the BJP in the pre-election months.
Friday’s statement said: “It is our stories that make us who we are, and every corner of our country has an empowering tale to tell. Last year we made a special film on the 150th birth year of Mahatma Gandhi, directed by Rajkumar Hirani. Followed by various meaningful initiatives, we have come together to celebrate the spirit of the freedom movement… Many more creative contributors will be joining us in the times to come.”
Kapoor and Rai retweeted Johar’s tweet. Kapoor, a prominent TV and film producer, tweeted: “Thank you honourable PM @narendramodi ji! Just to be included in your vision of our country is such an honour. Excited to be in such august company, recreating & curating stories that made our great nation stand tall with hope & integrity! Jai Hind!”
Also tagging Modi in his tweet, Rai wrote that they are “humbled & gratified to make our little contributions with stories that exemplify” the “integrity & pride of our great nation whilst we celebrate 75 years of India’s independence. Jai Hind.”
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