Bollywood’s stars can be divided among protestors, supporters, and the neutrals. Here’s how they reacted and responded with the augmented CAA protest and thus where they stand on the political spectrum.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests brought to the fore the political spectrum of the film fraternity of Bollywood. So, the issue of being anti- or pro- CAA i.e. left-leaning or right has divided the Hindi cinema stars. But it also helped us understand their political stands in a better way.
The issue of being anti- or pro- CAA i.e. left-leaning or right has divided Bollywood.
While the nation engulfed in the CAA protests saw citizens agonized, injured and dead, several stars came out condemning the police action and also the communally divisive new law. Several others instead ignored the fault lines in the government’s management of dissent and mocked the protesters rejecting their agitation as misled and inappropriate.
Bollywood on the issue of CAA
Today, the protest needs influencers to mobilize others to come forward and support. Bollywood celebrities command an unparalleled fan following in India. So much so that they are idolized by fans who wholeheartedly trust their word.
Bollywood’s stars are powerful voices that possess the capacity to influence people and also the government with their statements.
In fact, a number of Bollywood stars have become politicians – Raj Babbar, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Chiranjeevi, Kamal Haasan, Shatrughan Sinha and Hema Malini to name a few. Furthermore, Bollywood’s stars are powerful voices that possess the capacity to influence people and also the government with their statements, particularly on public platforms and social media like twitter.
Anti-CAA – Bollywood Stars supporting the CAA protest
In a huge rally organized at August Kranti Maidan in B-Town Mumbai, many Bollywood celebrities condemned the violence and also expressed their solidarity with students and people supporting CAA protest. So, the names include Raj Babbar, Swara Bhaskar, Saeed Mirza, Farhan Akhtar, Sushant Singh, Javed Jaffrey, Rahul Bose, Anurag Kashyap, Huma Qureshi, Suhasini Mulay, Nandita Das, and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
Furthermore, several celebrities also criticized the government, police and violence against the students through different social media platforms, and public talks. So, the names include Parneeti Chopra, Vicky Kaushal, Rajkumar Rao, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Vishal Bhardwaj, Richa Chadha, Manoj Bajpayee, Pulkit Samrat, Ayushman Khurana, Mahesh Bhatt, Twinkle Khanna, Alankrita Srivastava, Dia Mirza, Sidharth Malhotra, and Riteish Deshmukh.
Huma S Qureshi
Pro-CAA – Bollywood Stars against the CAA Protest
On the other end, several Bollywood stars have been found favouring the CAA and also helping the government convince citizens. Some are directly or indirectly linked with the BJP government. Moreover, they have been scathing of the protesters, totally apathetic to the police brutality and violent clampdown of dissent.
The names include veteran actors such as Paresh Rawal, Anupam Kher (whose wife Kirron Kher is in BJP ranks), filmmakers and producer like Vivek Agnihotri and Ashoke Pandit. Furthermore, actress Kangana Ranaut criticized the violence and burning of public properties but completely ignored the police action against the protesters.
Neutral – The big names that chose to remain silent
The three families that have ruled the Bollywood for decades have been missing in action – the Khans, the Kapoors, and the Bachchans. Privileged and influential names of Bollywood have shied from coming to the forefront.
Millennium Actor Amitabh Bachchan kept mum on the subject despite several urgings from fans on social media. Similarly, Aamir Khan who hosted the Satyamev Jayate and perpetually urges people to keep humanity first remained silent too. Salman Khan, the owner of Being Human Foundation also chose to remain silent. Shah Rukh Khan who runs the NGO Meer Foundation has also been in a deep sleep completely ignoring the voices that need him.
Akshay Kumar’s stand was a bit more controversial. Bollywood’s Khiladi hosted the ‘apolitical’ interview of PM Modi right before the 2019 general elections. It was surprising when twitter-brigade found out that Akshay Kumar had liked a tweet by a Jamia student against CAA. However, Kumar was quick to delete and offered a statement of clarity where he said that he in no way supports such acts.
Similarly, action-star Ajay Devgn took the diplomatic lane suggesting that ‘violence is not the answer’ and also that he does not want ‘aam janta’ to suffer. However, Devgn too missed the fact that the protesters that have died during the violence and police brutality were ‘aam janta’ too.
The difference between reel-life heroes and real-life heroes
Strangely, the unexpected divide among the Bollywood celebrities and where they lie of the political spectrum is up for an interesting analysis. Several youths of the country supporting the protests have also condemned the stars that have remained silent. However, analysis also shows how the influential stand wary of repercussions if they challenge and stand against the government.
The role models keep on changing. While Bollywood stars are generally judged on acting and entertainment skills, their social responsibility cannot be ignored. Patriotism has been a big USP and money-making opportunity for many in Bollywood. However, the same stars are afraid of taking a similar line with their real-life hero personas. Consequently, the protests also give clarity on who stands where in Bollywood on the political spectrum when it comes to the controversial CAA.