In an exclusive interview with India Today, actor Naseeruddin Shah spoke about films being made to whitewash the Centre’s image. He also opened up about Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan facing backlash for their comments on intolerance.
Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, in an interview with India Today, launched a scathing attack on the government’s apparent takeover of the film industry. He said that “pseudo-patriotic films are being made” to “whitewash” the Centre’s image.
NASEERUDDIN WANTS THE CBFC TO BE BANISHED. HERE’S WHY
Naseeruddin Shah is known to speak his mind. He recently took to social media to slam Indian Muslims celebrating Taliban. Now, he has spoken against the government banning films. “Anything that is slightly against the grain has to be banned and forbidden. Now the government has made itself the higher authority on the film board. It is very worrisome. Why does it (Central Board of Film Certification) exist? Banish it, the government will decide. It is easy to see what kind of films they want made. Movies that will whitewash their image, paint them as a saintly saviour of the country, create imaginary achievements – like the Uttar Pradesh Covid situation and what happened after that,” the 71-year-old actor told India Today’s Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai in an exclusive interview.
NASEER WISHES THE FILM INDUSTRY HAD THE POWER TO STAY INDEPENDENT
The three-time National Award-winning actor also had some advice for the film industry. “I wish the film industry had the power to stay independent and they did something. I wish they had the courage to do so but they are giving in and they are easy targets. They are scared and have varied interests and too much to lose,” he added.
NASEERUDDIN ON SRK AND AAMIR FACING BACKLASH ON THEIR STATEMENTS ON INTOLERANCE
On why do fewer people from the film industry speak up against these issues, Naseeruddin Shah said there is a “fear factor” and the “stakes are high” for them. He added that either the stars don’t feel the need to state their beliefs or they don’t have any. He also spoke about Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan’s old statements on intolerance and how they have never spoken out again after immense criticism and backlash.
“I am not anyone to say anything but they should have more confidence in their achievements and efforts, which they don’t seem to have. And they have been stars for 20-30 years. What happens if they lose two endorsements? It’s the harassment they will be subjected to. They find it difficult to take. And the fact that Aamir (Khan) and Shah Rukh (Khan) withdrew completely in a shell after making one harmless statement respectively illustrates this. I suppose I can speak because I don’t have much to lose,” Shah added.
NASEER WANTS MORE TRUTHFUL DEPICTION OF THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY
On whether jingoism sells more than peace and love in films, Shah said that the biggest stars are now a part of the “jingoist brigade”. “There is no longer a Muslim stock character sacrificing his life. One is thankful that the stereotyping is gone but we need more truthful depiction of the Muslim community in movies. Why should divisiveness work when it just illustrates something deeply rooted in the Indian psyche? It’s a no-brainer, being fed by powers,” he added.