Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has come down heavily on the Indian media and said he was allowed to remain silent on things that don’t affect him or about which he has no knowledge.
In an interview to the Indian Express, the Raees actor targeted TV anchors, comparing them to stars who he said were yet to “get over their wonderful, newly-gained stardom” and asked them to take lessons from their Western counterparts.
“Why don’t journalists here behave the way their counterparts do in the West? You see journalists asking pointed questions to presidential candidates fearlessly and with facts. If the other person interrupts, they would stop and say, ‘It is his time’,” Khan said.
“Here, I want to tell the journalists that it is not your time, so can you please keep quiet. Can I listen to those two people you are asking questions to? Now, there are two journalists on the TV screen and both are talking over each other and the panelists, sitting there, are not talking. It is a strange space…”
He cautioned the media against trying to get cheap publicity. “Why do you want to join the bandwagon of faceless people on social media who just want to say a thing and become famous?”
Khan also criticised the media for taking things out of context, and asked if they were “always going to utilise snippets, bytes, pieces and words to somehow bolster your point of view?”
The actor was replying to queries that sufaced after Hollywood actress Meryl Streep’s hard-hitting speech at the Golden Globe Awards where she hit out at US President Donald Trump without even mentioning his name.
Following the speech, the Hindi film industry came under attack for not being vocal on political issues unlike their Western counterparts.
“What Meryl Streep spoke about at the Golden Globe Awards is related to what’s happening in the US, something she believes in, and has a comment to make. Before any journalist starts comparing, is there a similar situation here that you want me to speak about? No. If there is a situation that is different, I am sure people who want to speak will speak differently,” Khan said.
The actor said he found it very odd that when journalists start saying, “when will Indian actors start speaking like this?”
“Why would Indian actors speak about a situation that does not exist? If there is an agenda and situation you want us to speak on, then you ask us about it and, obviously, we do speak.”
He dished down some guidelines to the media that he felt could help draw a truce between the two groups.
“Somewhere down the line, if you have a point of view and a very strong one, you need to directly tell me: ‘I am doing this piece on you. Shah Rukh, would you like to comment, pro or against? Would you like to take a side on this point of view that I have?’ I might say that I agree with you, so I would like to make this statement. Or, maybe, I would say no, I don’t agree with what you are saying and you can go ahead and put it in your story. Every interview has become an editorial…”
Khan, who has been at the centre of many controversies, has been again at the receiving end of media scrutiny for the promotion of his latest film Raees.
While Khan was promoting his film by taking a train ride from Mumbai to Delhi, a man died at the Vadodara railway station after chaos broke out as 15,000 peopled rushed to catch a glimpse of the superstar.
Khan also addressed the issue where he has been portraying more Muslim characters.
“You may write a piece from the point of view that I am doing three back-to-back Muslim characters. With due respect to my professionalism as an actor, I did not even know what my name was in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. I just went for two hours, did some shots and had fun with my friends, Karan, Ranbir (Kapoor) and Aishwarya (Rai Bachchan). I wrapped up around 2am and partied till 6am before flying back to Lisbon.”
Shah Rukh Khan gave the interview last week to Indian Express.