Bollywood Actor Ajay Devgn says the film industry is united when it comes to nationalism but extremely “scared and vulnerable” when politics is dragged in between.
When it comes to nationalism, as I said, I stand by the country. When it comes to politics, an industry man gets a little scared. He gets scared because if today you say anything against a group, your film will be stopped, something will happen.
“We are very vulnerable where politics is concerned. Where nationalism is concerned, I don’t think it (Bollywood) is divided.” he added.
Devgn was speaking at a special event of Aaj Tak’s ‘Manthan’ in Mumbai along with wife Kajol.
His statement comes against the back of Karan Johar’s directorial project “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” being at the receiving end of MNS’ ire for casting Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.
MNS said it won’t allow the release of the film slated on 28 October.
Johar has also issued a statement saying he will not work with Pakistani actors again and has the highest respect for the nation.
The The 47-yer-old actor said many people are scared to voice their opinion when it comes to politics as they may end up facing unnecessary backlash.
“We want to stay away from politics because we are vulnerable. But when it comes about the nation, there I stand by it. But when politics is concerned, sometimes you say it but most of the time ‘aap darr ke chup ho jate ho’ (you are scared and keep mum).”
He said just like the society, Bollywood is divided too but the film industry has never faced any issue when it is about religion, something which is its “biggest credit.”
“Film industry is divided, just like the society. But when religion is concerned, it is not…’Religion ka problem aata hi nahi hai entertainment mein’. Whatever the political or religious situation be, people working in our films are Hindus, Muslims, Parsi, Christians.”
“We have always had good together, celebrated Eid and Diwali together. I am not just talking about my film unit but the entire film industry. We have never faced this problem (of religion). That’s our biggest credit,” he said.
Amid the ongoing furore on Pakistani actors working in India, he said he has worked with Pakistani talents before and feels they should not be outrightly “banned.”
“I have worked with Pakistani actors, Pakistanis singers have sung for me. My life’s best music has been by Nusrat Fateh saab in ‘Kachche Dhaage’. Pakaitani actors have worked with me. We should work in the future too. But sometimes certain situations arise. Right now, they shouldn’t be banned, but we have to decide to stand by the country,” the “Singham” actor added.
The most important thing, according to the actor, is that people should stand by the nation.
“If our security forces are fighting there, you can’t say let them do what they want. It doesn’t happen that way. I hope the problem is solved soon, so we start working again.”
“Even they (Pakistan) have put a ban on us, on films and television. If they are standing with their nation, we should stand by our nation too. Why are we fighting amongst ourselves?,” he said.
The actor, however, doesn’t believe anyone “creates” a controversy as it hardly benefits the film.
“I don’t think anyone wants controversy. I feel when controversy happens it takes away from the content of the film. The focus shifts from trailer, songs. I don’t think it benefits.
“Awareness can be created (through controversy) but ultimately the audience decides after the first show. No matter how much controversy you do, audience decides after the first show. The audience forgets the controversy after the first show,” said Ajay.
Kajol feels people should watch “Shivaay” only for the sheer joy of it and not because there was a controversy going on.
“I don’t think anyone asks for controversy. I don’t know if there is so much of positivity (when that happens) As a producer of ‘Shivaay’, I want people to watch it for happiness,” she said.
On being quizzed if actors from other countries are roped in to increase business, Ajay said, “It is not business. My film’s (‘Shivaay’) script demanded many foreign actors. Since it is a performer oriented film, I had to search them. One girl was finalised from UK, one from Poland.
“We didn’t do it thinking our films will do good business in UK or Poland. The intention wasn’t that.”
(With inputs from PTI)