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Nationalism, Khan style

Akbar Khan takes debate further, defining what Khan-dan thinks is ?true nationalism?, reports Piyush Roy.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 05:07 IST
Piyush Roy

Akbar Khan, miffed over the manner in which BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tried to equate brother Feroz Khan’s comments with “nationalism”, takes the debate further, defining what he and the Khan-dan think is ‘true nationalism.’

Still in Pakistan, Khan clarifies, “People like myself, Sanjay Khan, Fardeen Khan, Mahesh Bhatt, Shyam Shroff, Pahlaj Nihalani, Shatrughan Sinha, Manisha Koirala who went on this historic trip have a definite concept of nationalism. Nationalism doesn’t mean trying to divide people living outside our geographical boundaries. A regard for peace and prosperity both within and outside your country is my brand of nationalism, contrary to Naqvi’s definition, which comes at the expense of order and peace in your neighbourhood.”

“Our brand of nationalism is in line with Bollywood’s time-tested tradition of communal harmony, compared to Naqvi’s divisive and opportunistic comments,” he clarifies.

Khan would have been on the top of the world courtesy “the overwhelming response” to his film Taj Mahal across the border, but Naqvi’s comments have dampened his joy.

Bollywood, according to Khan, is the only Indian industry to have maintained communal harmony all along by encouraging merit-based talent irrespective of caste, creed or religious considerations. Akbar echoes Feroz’s observation on India’s secularity adding, “India has been a magnanimous country allowing everyone an opportunity to flower with equal passion.”

Clarifying that his brother has been misquoted on the “Muslims killing each other in Pakistan,” observation, Akbar says that Feroz’s remarks on ‘brothers killing brothers’ wasn’t limited to Pakistan alone but all problem points across the globe. “Aren’t such killings happening in India? Feroz spoke against any form of violence in any part of the world. That’s why I was annoyed with the BJP vice president’s attempt at misinterpreting his quote to spread hatred,” he says.

However, Naqvi alone isn’t in Khan’s line of fire. Attributing Taj Mahal’s dismal performance in India to “bad marketing and sabotage at home” its opening to packed theatres across Pakistan seems to have encouraged Khan to plan a major re-launch for the film back home.

Khan next plans to make a film on Chengiz Khan in English by the end of this year with an international cast comprising actors from India, Pakistan, China, Iran and Uzbekistan. He says it will be shot in Peshawar and Baluchistan. So are historicals his favourite genre? “I have been caught in this groove naturally. Historicals come as second nature to me, because they not only entertain but also provide a major insight into the past,” he signs off.

First Published: May 03, 2006 02:35 IST