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Rajkummar Rao jokes about Smriti Irani’s name, she tells him how ‘tolerant’ govt didn’t break his leg

Rajkummar Rao quipped about Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani’s name at the IFFI 2017 inauguration when she fired a joke back at him.

bollywood Updated: Nov 21, 2017 15:30 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Rajkummar Rao,Smriti Irani,IFFI
Rajkummar Rao joked about Smriti Irani at IFFI opening ceremony.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani on Monday said that a minister who can a take a joke on herself is an example that the current government is tolerant.

The minister, who was an actor before she started her political career, was referring to the joke that actor Rajkummar Rao -- who hosted the opening ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India with a fractured leg -- made on her surname by drawing a connection with Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s home country.

She said she was referring to the joke because she doesn’t want people to point fingers at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and accuse its workers of breaking his (Rao’s) leg.

“Rajkummar, I would like the whole country to know that you made fun of Irani -- a minister -- which shows what a tolerant government we are,” Irani said in her speech at the event.

“And I am also expressing this, because I don’t want anyone to say that ‘BJP walon ne actor ki taang todh di’ (BJP workers broke the actor’s leg).”

Union Minister for Textiles and Information & Broadcasting, Smriti Irani addressing the gathering, at the inaugural ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2017), in Panaji, Goa on Monday. (PTI)

The minister was taking a jibe at the claims from many sections that the government is not tolerant and is stifling creative voice. The clamour is a reaction to the postponement of the Padmavati release, and the exclusion of S Durga and Nude from IFFI’s Indian Panorama section.

Despite actors like Shabana Azmi and Hansal Mehta asking people to boycott the festival as a sign of protest, the film gala, which will go on till November 28, was opened by superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

Indian cinema icons like Sridevi, A.R. Rahman, Shahid Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj were also present.

Irani said: “On behalf of the Government of India, I would like to welcome you to the 48th IFFI.

“We speak almost 1,600 dialects to tell stories, and today’s gathering is unique because it has a five-year-old Pihu, King Khan of romance, Nana Patekar and the ethereal Sridevi.

“I would like to thank each one of us. Like Shahid Kapoor said that this country is all about celebration, utsav and young energy... It is our endeavour on behalf of the Government of India and the Government of Goa, that we invite filmmakers from around the world.”

She also praised hosts Rajkummar and Radhika Apte, saying they are a “pride of not only to the industry or the creative industry but also India per se”.

Irani concluded the evening by inviting everyone to come and join the ride of knowing cinema better with the festival.

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First Published: Nov 21, 2017 14:58 IST