On Monday, noted Karnataka actor and activist Prakash Raj urged his Bollywood colleagues to stand up against growing saffron surge in the country and speak truth to the power.
Deploring that most of the Bollywood celebrities are too scared to speak out, multilingual actor and activist Prakash Raj on Monday requested his senior colleague Amitabh Bachchan to break his silence over burning issues confronting the country.
During a Facebook live interview with former Outlook editor Krishna Prasad, the 53-year-old actor appealed to senior Bachchan: “You are big guy, Sir, we respect you a lot. Don’t let the future generations ask this question that when the society was in danger, you were silent. You are a great voice Sir. You are rich enough to lose, Sir. That is what richness is. Speak up, Sir. Don’t give me reasons and excuses that ‘I have seen it all…I am old. I don’t want to get into all this’. You have been a wonderful man. You have read poetry. You are a sensible man. We need your voice, Sir. They can’t take anything away from you. Because I don’t think you are actually supporting them. By not voicing you are not helping the society.”
Commenting on senior Bachchan’s silence on brutal Kathua rape and murder case, Raj said: “I felt let down …though you have the right to speak or not to speak. But there are times when you have to speak. Even if it’s ‘disgusting’, will we remain silent? Yes, it’s disgusting but talking about it is not disgusting. It’s a child, it could be my daughter. It could be any body’s daughter.”
Raj stated that it was a collective shame for Bollywood that not many celebrities were giving voice to the social concerns. “Wake up, guys,” he asked his colleagues, stressing that silence of artists is to be blamed if a society becomes coward. “It’s not a big achievement to be big heroes in cinema. Be the one who makes a difference in life too. Be men enough…be women enough, have integrity,” he said, adding: “ There can be genuine fears as a human being, not denying it. But I have colleagues who don’t know what a district is? Who is an MP (Member of Parliament) or an MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly)…who don’t read newspapers.”“You want to live in your glass houses…you (everybody for that matter) have agendas. The common man understands everything,” he said, hoping that “someday your conscience will prick your silence because of which fringe elements are out.”
Prakash Raj stated that it was a collective shame for Bollywood that not many celebrities were giving voice to the social concerns. “Wake up, guys,” he asked his colleagues, stressing that silence of artists is to be blamed if a society becomes coward. “It’s not a big achievement to be big heroes in cinema. Be the one who makes a difference in life too. Be men enough…be women enough, have integrity”
Commenting on Padmaavat controversy, he said: “How many of you came (forward) when Padmaavat was banned. She [Deepika Padukone] is a co-actress. Somebody threatened her, ‘I’ll cut your nose’. They will come after you too. It will be too late (by then).”
On the “cringing” questions that lyricist Prasoon Joshi asked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in London, this was his advice to the colleagues: “Don’t think people only hear your sweet talk, eventually people will see how you behave. Eventually people will get sensitised to read between the lines. Eventually, you will lose face. You will be held responsible. I promise you these guys will go. But people will ask you when they would have won their own fight: ‘where the hell were you’.”
Raj said that he has suffered financial losses because of his ideological position on certain issues and being vocal about them. “I’ve lost some films and (role in) certain commercial advertisements. But I take great pride that I can afford to lose. I am rich enough to lose.”
Stating that BJP will not return to power in 2019 and Narendra Modi won’t be the Prime Minister, he further said: “You have tried to stop me because you have misunderstood me. You have miscalculated me. I will continue to speak. Now the next step, what you are going to do is that you are seeing that people don’t hear me. You can’t do that too. And I’ll see a day when you will surrender. You are not a threat to the country now, you will become one when you become desperate. You will lose sense of mind and become chaotic, we will see that too. If society has to give some prices, we need to give those prices. I will see you desperate.”