In a surprising turn of event, Shah Rukh Khan - the first Bollywood star to join the ongoing debate on “growing intolerance” in the country - claimed that he never said India is intolerant.
Asked if he should use his stature as an icon for broader purpose, Shah Rukh Khan said while he wanted to do that, he is often misquoted. Talking to Mid Day, he said, “I talk about something and it is misconstrued, and I get into trouble. That’s a nuisance.”
Broaching on his controversial comment, he said, “Like that thing which blew up recently — I never said India is intolerant. When I was asked about it, I said I wouldn’t like talking about it, but when they insisted, I had just said that the youth should concentrate on making this a secular, progressive country.”
Shah Rukh was attacked by the BJP leaders and branded a ‘Pakistani agent’ after he said there was an atmosphere of growing intolerance in the country. “Intolerance religiously… not being secular in this country is the worst crime you can do as a patriot,” he replied to a question during a Twitter townhall on November 2. On artists and dignitaries returning awards in protest, Shah Rukh had said, “I have not been in a situation like that. But I respect the people. If they think this gesture is going to turn things around, it is very brave, very honest.”
Watch SRK’s during the Twitter townhall
“It is just that people like to believe what they want to believe. Misconstruing my words might or might not suit a particular political agenda, but I am annoyed because I didn’t mean what is being portrayed. I am an actor and make films. This is enough of a job. I am an icon because I can be what I am on screen. I would rather stick to that,” Shah Rukh Khan told the Mumbai tabloid.
The denial has come to light just a day after Aamir Khan , one of the most vocal stars in the industry, said the growing intolerance in the country scares him. “When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate this sense of growing disquiet, growing despondency, apart from alarm,” Aamir said in Delhi on Monday.
Watch | Aamir Khan ‘alarmed at growing intolerance in India’