Atul on Aamir and Narmada | india | Hindustan Times
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Atul on Aamir and Narmada

Atul Kulkarni spoke to Vidhi Bhargava about Rang De Basanti co-star Aamir and the Narmada cause.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 18:56 IST

"When one is doing powerful films, it does effect you as a human being... But this is not the first issue Aamir has been vocal about.

"Aamir and I have been in touch ever since we did Rang De Basanti. During the shooting, Aamir be came aware of the issue and we talked about it many times. After the shooting, when he came back, he wanted to do something. So we decided to get involved. Rakeysh Mehra (director, RDB) is also with us and some others too may voice their opinion. But we are doing this in our capacity as individuals. Our (Aamir, Rakeysh and my) involvement is not like an extension of reel life (Rang De Basanti). It’s just that the film happened to see the coming together of like-minded people.

"People are saying that this is to get publicity for Rang De Basanti? I don’t believe it. Anybody saying our NBA work is a publicity stunt needs to think deeper. If one were to do publicity it wouldn’t have been three months after the release of the film, when it is off 60 per cent film halls.

"Besides, Aamir is a conscientious person and this is not the first issue he has voiced his opinion about. He was vocal about the Khushboo issue, he spoke against Naresh Modi and had even adopted the village in Bhuj, he’d shot for Lagaan, after the earthquake.

"When one is doing powerful films, it does effect you as a human being. But while a film like Rang De Basanti acts a catalyst but it doesn’t change things. It’s only when you are interested and you study the issue that it instigates discussion and talk. But for that you also need to have a thoughtful approach towards society.

 
 Aamir Khan pledging support for the Narmada cause. Many think that Khan is doing it purely for publicity

 


"As for Arundhati Roy raising the issue of Aamir’s endorsement of Coke, he has said he will take the issue up with Coke. He says he will try to study the issue and get to the bottom of it. And if Aamir is saying so he will surely take it up. After all, Aamir is a person of integrity. When celebrities (like Aamir) stand up for an issue people are more inquisitive about what they have to say. But on our part, what we are trying to do is to get numbers. The strength is in the numbers. And if there are more sources to generate public opinion, the impact will be more. What is needed is that people in general be informed.

"What we have tried to do is to speak to people about the issue. We met Medhaji in the hospital. We tried to gather information from people agitating against the Narmada dam. This was our way of showing support. There are issues that don’t necessarily connect with us directly, but we are equally responsible for them. There comes a point when one has to voice one’s opinion and that’s what democracy is all about.

"I have been following the Narmada Bachao Andolan for a long time now. In fact I know some of the people involved in the mission like Medhaji, personally. People may say it is sudden but I feel it was the right time to be associated with it. Had I associated with the programme five years back, people would have still called it sudden."