New Delhi, Jan 1: Bollywood star Salman Khan along with Sri Lankan-born Jacqueline Fernandez was in Sri Lanka to prop up the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa's re-election bid. Khan is the first Indian actor to be roped in for a poll campaign in Sri Lanka.
A Sri Lanka based screenwriter and theatre director Ruwanthie de Chickera has written an open letter to both the actors for campaigning in support of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Here's the letter:
Dear Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez,
It was probably not your intention to be in the middle of this embarrassing political controversy. Clearly, all you wanted to do was visit your old friend Namal and distribute some spectacles in order to boost your charity. But, I must say, you two... the time you picked for this was just a little shortsighted.
It's understandable that as you come from Mumbai (Jacqueline has been there for all of six years now...) you were ‘not aware of what was happening here.' But by now you must know your friend Namal's dad has been terribly busy trying to convince the people of Sri Lanka to re-elect him as president. And, well... things have not been going too well for him.
However, he must like you very, very much; because, just one week away from the elections, he and Namal and a whole lot of other people, (who should rightly be using every waking hour available to them to campaign for his re-election), actually spent a lot of time and money and resources helping you promote your charity. Bless them all.
Yes, in this light, as you said Salman, Namal's dad is probably the ‘most humble person' you have ever met. We, in our ignorance, assume that everyone else you know spends millions upon millions of other people's money lining the streets of India with pictures of themselves.
Anyway, Jaqueline, we are sure that you would rather focus on other things "rather than this silly circus." Apologies for inconveniencing you with our antics. But you are spot on. It is a bit of a circus here. Our media is rigged, our police is corrupt, our money is being robbed from us, our journalists are being threatened, our artistes are being beaten, our minorities are being silenced, our justice system is a joke, our constitution is an embarrassment and right now, there are lots and lots of people getting assaulted and intimidated for exercising their right to vote - and this, with the right sound track, could be material for a very funny circus scene.
Sorry that this irritates you. But you see, for us it's a crisis. It's been bleeding us to death - and its very important to us that it ends.
Finally, in all fairness to you, you may not have known the extent and depth of corruption that your friend's family has unleashed upon this country, or how fed up, we, as citizens we are of them. But hopefully now you do. Now you do.
We anticipate that the next country you pick to promote your charity in, brings you less embarrassment and a little more respect.
Ruwanthie de Chickera
(Ruwanthie de Chickera is a founding member and artistic director of the Stages Theatre Group, one of Sri Lanka's most well-known and highly-respected theater groups. This letter originally appeared in Sri Lankan website Groundviews.)