In the eye of a storm over his criticism of exclusion of Pakistani cricketers from a major tournament, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is hoping Shiv Sena ire against him would not be visited on his new film.
"If there is an issue with me you have to sort it out with me and talk to me about my ideology," he told IANS over the phone from New York where he was to promote his new film My Name Is Khan.
"As far as the film is concerned, that is an incidental thing. According to me, that's not something they should take their ire against and hopefully they won't and nobody will and it will release and, inshallah, people will like it," he said.
"I have nothing to respond," said Shah Rukh when asked about Shiv Sena's threat to disrupt the screening of the film if he did not apologise for speaking against the exclusion of Pakistani cricketers from the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"I don't even understand what My Name Is Khan has got to do with what I say," he said.
"You know 'My Name Is Khan' is not only my film. It has got Kajol and Karan (Johar) and hundred and fifty other people whose livelihood depends on that."
"And if there is an issue with me you have to sort it out with me and talk to me about my ideology," said Shah Rukh, who owns the Kolkata Knight Riders team, while sticking to his guns on the issue.
"I have no take on anybody's statement" he said referring to Shiv Sena leaders' criticism of his views. "I can only do a take on my statement. And what I say and what everyone believes in... what I say that we are Indians and we should have everyone like to live freely and happily and be good."
"And so there is nothing new, we learnt it in class three civics books till I finished my masters that this is what I was taught by my parents and my mom."
"And I don't know what the issue is really. I mean what is wrong in saying what I say that everyone is welcome to my country and I welcome them with open arms, whether it's art, culture, sport, politics... you know, whatever."
"Everyone has got the right to do what they wish to do in our country. That's why it's the biggest democracy apparently," Shah Rukh said.