A photo of several top Bollywood stars posing with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday went viral on social media. Prominent among those, seen posing with Modi, included Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar, Ayushmann Khurrana, Sidharth Malhotra, Ekta Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Varun Dhawan and flmmakers Karan Johar and Rohit Shetty.
These Bollywood stars had called on the prime minister as part of their courtesy visit. A similar delegation of Bollywood producers, led by Karan Johar, had met Modi in Delhi on 19 December last month. Like their December meeting, several Bollywood stars took to their social media pages to share their photos with Modi on this occasion too.
Ranveer Singh shared his photo, hugging the prime minister on Instagram. He wrote, “Jaadoo ki Jhappi! ? Joy to meet the Honourable Prime Minister of our great nation ?? @narendramodi.”
Karan Johar too posted a photo of himself with Modi and wrote, “Thank you for meeting us today sir! @narendramodi ! An incredible exchange of thoughts and ideas with the forces of the film fraternity and the honourable Prime Minister!”
In another post Johar wrote, “Powerful and timely conversations can bring about change and this was one of what we hope will become a regular conversation. Meeting the Honorable Prime Minister @narendramodi today was an incredible opportunity.
As a community, there is a huge interest to contribute to nation building. There is so much that we want to do. And can do and this dialogue was towards how and what ways we can do that. When the youngest country (in demography) joins hands with the largest movie industry in the world, we hope to be a force to reckon with. Together we would love to inspire and ignite positive changes to a transformative India.
“The film industry would also like to send a huge thanks for the GST reduction in movie ticket prices that was implemented recently! Thank you so much for your time, Sir!”
But the photo did not go down well with social media users as many activists and journalists called them ‘spineless’ for posing with a prime minister, whose controversial policy decisions had caused a lot of distress to a large section of the Indian society. Many of them also asked why the Indian filmstars lacked spine to criticise the government like their counterparts in Hollywood routinely did.
Why Hollywood is Hollywood, and Bollywood is Bollywood? A bunch of cowards. https://t.co/DqL6WSLNfA
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) January 10, 2019
— Shabnam Hashmi (@ShabnamHashmi) January 10, 2019
Ek prathna karni thi aapse, Zindagi mein kabhi itna bada mat banadena ki body se spine bilkul gayab hi ho jaaye… pic.twitter.com/gyoZNUtysR
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) January 10, 2019
1. The Bollywood that we hope for.
2. The Bollywood that we get. pic.twitter.com/GxvQhyCcHR
— Akash Banerjee (@akashbanerjee) January 10, 2019
— संस्कारज़म (@Being_Sanskaari) January 10, 2019
— SalimRizvi (@RizviSalim) January 10, 2019
Bollywood stars including many present in the selfie with Modi have earned people’s ire for not criticising the government for the fear of reprisals despite its poor governance and politics of hatred causing grief to masses. In contrast, Hollywood stars have often held up mirror to their government in the wake of questionable policies. In a more recent but famous development, Meryl Streep had slammed US President Donald Trump for his controversial policies including his hostility towards press during her speech at the Golden Globes Awards ceremony in December 2017.