Bollywoods' Mr Perfectionist Aamir Khan on Monday, Nov 23, jumped into a boiling controversy of so-called 'intolerance' prevailing in the country.
50-year-old Aamir has been honoured by the Government of India with the prestigious awards of Padma Shri in 2003 and Padma Bhushan in 2010. What Aamir Khan is today or any other Bollywood superstar is today, is only because of Indians and because of the love and admiration they have received from their Indian fans.
How can Aamir called India 'intolerant', when his movies like PK, Taare Zameen Par, Peepli Live, Dhobi Ghat, Lagaan and many others gross over Rs 100 crores at the box office.
Although Aamir is known to stay away from media limelight and is mostly seen in public, during his movie promotions, but this particular statement by him, has brought him in the eye of storm.
Aamir a known baiter of Modi
Aamir calling India an intolerant nation under Prime Minister Narendra Modi led-NDA government does not come as a surprise for many, who have keenly observed his equation with Modi in the last few years.
Ten years back in 2005, he carried out a campaign to deny Modi to get US visa.
In March 2005, he, along with 203 people, had signed a public petition in 2005 against Modi, that hauled up the then PM Dr Manmohan Singh for criticising the US visa ban on Modi who was then the chief minister of Gujarat. [Text of citizens statement re the Indian Prime minister's comments in the Rajya Sabha following refusal of US Visa to Narendra Modi]
[Read: VHP's open letter to Aamir Khan]
Aamir had also slammed Modi-ruled Gujarat over 2006 Vadodara riots.
"I think it is (Vadodara incident) very sad and what happened in Gujarat a few years ago was also equally unfortunate. It's a shame that the administration is not able to control the situation there and it is resulting in deaths of innocent people", Aamir had said.
Aamir had vocal disagreements with Modi over Narmada Dam project and accused him of harming him when Modi had not even filed a case against him. However, his movie Fanaa, that released around that time, faced an unofficial ban in Gujarat. ['Fanaa' banned in Gujarat]
Khan had also said that it was a pity that the ruling party in Gujarat viewed him as anti-Gujarat and was trying to stall Fanaa.
"I don't think of myself as a Hindu or a Muslim, a Sikh or a Christian. I'm an Indian. And it is for the people of India to decide what is right or wrong", Khan was quoted as saying by a leading daily.
In an interview with Reddif, Khan had said, "I strongly feel no innocent Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christians should get killed in riots.I feel all human beings should oppose such people. Those who instigate others in the name of religion are wrong."
On being asked whether he will make a call to Modi to sort out the issue, Khan had said, "Why should I phone him? Why should I interfere in his work? Let the people decide who is right and who is wrong."
On BJP, Khan had said, "I want the people of India to see that here is a political party (BJP) that does not believe in democracy. Here is a party that does not believe in the rights of poor people."
In 2006, his movies-- Range De Basanti and Taare Zameen Par, had also faced revolt in Gujarat. [Anti-Modi remarks haunts Aamir Khan]
On Narmada Bachao Andolan in Gujarat under the leadership of social activist Medha Patkar, Aamir had said on May 26, 2006, "I will not retract my steps nor will I apologise to anyone simply because I've not done any wrong."
"Let me specify that I am not opposed to Narmada dam construction. All I want is that the people, who have been ousted by the construction of dam, should get alternative accommodation", Aamir had said.
In 2011, despite having differences with Modi, Aamir visited Ahmedabad for the promotion of his movie '3 Idiots', when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, and he had also praised the good work happening in the field of girls education in Gujarat!
When Aamir's meeting with Modi raised eyebrows
Even though, Aamir kept on attacking Modi, but yet Modi embraced him. But why did Aamir meet Modi, in the first place, when he was convinced Modi was a bad person?
As a guarded U-turn on June 23, 2014, Khan had met Modi, shortly after 2014 Lok Sabha elections concluded in May. He had shared the pic of meeting Modi at Twitter and said that it was very kind of PM Modi to spare his valuable time. [After making anti-Narendra Modi remarks, Aamir Khan meets PM at 7RCR]
Aamir had brought along-with him a DVD set of his reality TV Show Satyamev Jayate, to promote "Vote for Change" episode, when he met PM Modi.
On Oct 2, 2014, Aamir had shared the dais with PM Modi during the launch of Swachh Bharat Campaign in New Delhi. [Aamir Khan joins PM Narendra Modi's 'Swachh Bharat' campaign]
Aamir had also said he would be happy if he is made the brand ambassador of the cleanliness drive.
In Jan 2015, Aamir had signed an open letter to PM Modi, alongwith other renowned activists to address critical issues such as poverty, climate change and equality, as part of the action 2015 campaign.
Aamir-NaMo's sweet & sour chemistry!
On the whole, Aamir Khan and Narendra Modi have shared an acrimonious relationship over the past few years. [When Aamir Khan met Narendra Modi]
Both are an ace performers in their respective fields of politics and entertainment and have earned a global reputation to represent India.
Freedom comes with responsibility
India is world's largest democratic country and its every individual has got the fundamental right to voice his/her opinions, but at the same time it is wrong to say that India is an intolerant country, that too by a person like Aamir Khan or any other celebrity.
Hope time will heal this too!