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Star struck: The PM with SRK and Aamir

SRK and Aamir went to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s house last month when he invited a trade delegation from the film industry

By Bharathi S. Pradhan

  • Published 3.11.19, 1:16 AM
  • Updated 3.11.19, 1:16 AM
Okay, so SRK and Aamir were there, and they had a special audience with the Prime Minister. How does that equal to the superstars “breaking their silence” on their political leanings?
Okay, so SRK and Aamir were there, and they had a special audience with the Prime Minister. How does that equal to the superstars “breaking their silence” on their political leanings? PTI

There’s a rather ill-informed video going around from the stable of a political news site known to lean to the Left and denounce all things Right, especially if it’s about a certain man at the top from Gujarat.

But it is not the politics of the anchor in the video that’s in question — it’s the sarcasm it drips about the three Khans as the tagline claims that Shah Rukh and Aamir have broken their silence on which way they’re politically inclined.

All conclusions are drawn solely on the fact that SRK and Aamir went to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s house last month when he invited a trade delegation from the film industry — where the PM screened Raju Hirani’s short video on Gandhi for his guests and requested all of them to use their reach to spread awareness about Gandhiji.

Okay, so SRK and Aamir were there, and they had a special audience with the Prime Minister. How does that equal to the superstars “breaking their silence” on their political leanings?

There’s also a swipe taken at Salman Khan with the remark that he had opened his political cards a long time ago when he supported Narendra Modi — the two flying kites together was the visual proof.

But anybody who knows the Khans and their political thinking will know that it was the anchor who was actually flying kites sitting at a desk and drawing such conclusions.

Aamir and Shah Rukh are not fickle men whose minds will be swayed by the attention given to them by a leader. And it isn’t as if the PM isn’t privy to the leanings of his visitors. But he calls on celebrities of all colours to pitch in for a cause — he got Salman, Shah Rukh, the whole pack, to exhort Indians to cast their vote. He got Aamir to spread the word on water conservation, a cause that this Khan has been close to in the state of Maharashtra as well. He got a cross-section of voices to be part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

On Shashi Tharoor’s personal desk will be Gandhiji’s specs — the signature visual of the Swachh Bharat campaign. Does that make Tharoor a Modi voter?

Aamir is a man who likes to think things out in his mind. And he thought out a long time ago that the Right-wing was not his cup of tea; he equated its rise with the rise of societal divisions. But as a celebrity who knows that he should better watch it before opening his mouth, he does not have to publicly enunciate his political preferences.

At the same time, if there’s a cause that he believes in — whether it be water or Gandhiji — it would be petty for him to turn down an invitation from the Prime Minister to promote it simply because he may differ from him ideologically. But does having chai with the PM make Aamir a BJP bhai?

Shah Rukh Khan’s proximity to Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi — and his inclination to tell their story one day — is not going to diminish because he accepted an invitation from Narendra Modi. Cracking a joke at the mike in the PM’s house doesn’t mean he relishes the party his host represents. But it would have been churlish to turn down the invite.

Does anybody know Salman Khan’s true feelings about the politics of the day? Suffice it to say that no matter who he flies kites with or who drops into his place (as Nitin Gadkari did), Salman has always voted for the Congress. Former MLA Baba Siddiqui, who is from Salman’s constituency in Mumbai, is a hardcore Congress man; his son, Zeeshan, won in the recent Assembly polls on a Congress ticket. And the Salman-Baba Siddiqui friendship goes back to the days when the Khan was not even an actor.

If anyone has noticed, Salman sports a deep gash on one of his arms. Ask him about it and he’ll tell you that the scar is a memento of the time Baba and he took on a goon called Piloo Dada and that there was a right royal testosterone-driven battle between the two groups.

Is a meeting with the Prime Minister going to change such staunch pre-stardom loyalties?

Bharathi S. Pradhan is a senior journalist and author

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