Anupam Kher booed at LitFest debate, calls audience paid

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Actor Anupam Kher, who recently criticised writers returning their awards, was booed by the audience during a debate on freedom of speech at a literary festival in Mumbai.

Kher was among the panellists, along with British television journalist Nik Gowing, Sudheendra Kulkarni, and Shobha De, at the debate titled ‘Freedom of Expression is In Imminent Danger’ and organised as part of the Tata Literature Live Festival.

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Anupam Kher along with BJP leader Nalin Kohli was against the motion while Shobha De and Kulkarni were for the motion.

Soon after Kher rose to speak, he was booed after he recalled Shobha De’s past as an editor of a film magazine “which printed gossip about which film star slept with whom”.

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Undeterred, Kher went on to say “people have an agenda and cannot handle a chaiwala becoming a PM”.

As the booing continued, Kher said he had spoken to the festival organiser Anil Dharker in the morning and expressed his apprehensions of a paid audience at the debate, held on Thursday night.

This infuriated several members of the audience who kept on booing the Kher.

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There were moments when it seemed like the situation might get out of hand.

One such moment was when BJP MP Kirron Kher, wife of Kher, reprimanded the booing audience and called it the “tyranny of the unelected”.

Dharker said it was ridiculous to suggest that the audience was a paid one.

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