Mumbai: From intolerance to censorship, 2015 saw Bollywood stars departing from their usual diplomatic stand and consequently getting embroiled in controversies for expressing their views, with the three Khans becoming the biggest contributors to the rows.
Be it Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan’s remarks on intolerance or Salman Khan’s open disapproval of terrorist Yakub Memon’s death sentence, controversies walked hand-in-hand with Bollywood stars in the year gone by.
When Aamir said he was alarmed by the recent incidents of violence in the country and his wife Kiran Rao even suggested that they should leave the country, the superstar came under fire from the members of the ruling party, his own colleagues some celebrities and fans.
From mocking him for his comments to calling him treacherous, the 50-year-old actor was not spared. Later, Aamir released a statement in his defence stating that his words were misunderstood but he stands by everything that he had said.
Shah Rukh evoked similar reactions when on his 50th birthday, he said there was “extreme intolerance” in the country.
His comments snowballed into a political controversy, with ruling BJP leaders criticising the actor. Giving his opinion to growing protests and return of awards by filmmakers, scientists, writers and historians over the climate of intolerance, King Khan said while he had no National Film Award to return, he respects the decision of filmmakers giving back their honour.
Little did the actor know, he got tagged as a Pakistani agent and compared to terrorist Hafiz Saeed by politicians. Shah Rukh, later, claimed he never said India was intolerant and his words were misconstrued.
Much before the two superstars came into the scene, a wave of protests and open displeasure began by top filmmakers like Dibakar Banerjee and Anand Patwardhan.
They both along with eight other directors returned their National Awards to express solidarity to agitating FTII students and protest against intolerance in the country.