Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been flying the flag for the Hindutva brigade in India ever since Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014. Once respected by all, Bachchan has become a hugely controversial figure in India for his support to known Hindutva trolls on social media and support for a communally divisive ideology. The KBC host was left humiliated by the microblogging site Twitter, which reportedly pulled down Bachchan’s video claiming that Sunday’s Janta Curfew had the potential to reduce or destroy coronavirus potency as it was amavasya, the darkest night of the month.
The 77-year-old actor had written in his controversial tweet (now deleted), “An opinion given: 5 PM, 22nd Mar, ”amavasya”, darkest day of month; virus, bacteria evil force at max potential & power! Clapping shankh vibrations reduce/ destroy virus potency Moon passing to new ”nakshatra” Revati. cumulative vibration betters blood circulation.”
No sooner did Bachchan share the tweet, he began to face widespread condemnation for spreading fake information. Bachchan’s claims that clapping for five minutes as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had the potential to ward off coronavirus earned him public ridicule. Lyricist and comedian Varun Grover tweeted, “Shameful superstitions propaganda coming from a person with such huge reach. And we have learned to let go of “besharmi” (shamelessness) of many of our celebs but this is DANGEROUS too. Indian lives are at stake here and you need to be more responsible,” Grover tweeted in response to Bachchan’s post.
Shameful superstitions propaganda coming from a person with such huge reach. And we have learned to let go of besharmi of many of our celebs but this is DANGEROUS too. Indian lives are at stake here and you need to be more responsible.
— वरुण ?? (@varungrover) March 23, 2020
On Sunday, even the government’s publicity wing Press Information Bureau issued a clarification denouncing the viral claim as it wrote, “NO! The vibration generated by clapping together will NOT destroy #Coronavirus infection.”
In a separate development, Twitter had also removed a video uploaded by actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth for making similar unscientific claims. Rajinikanth had claimed that the 14-hour Janta Curfew as advised by the PM Modi was necessary to curb the spread of the virus.
Among those responding to Modi’s call for Janta Curfew and need to bang utensils for five minutes were plenty of Bollywood stars including Bachchan, who was seen ringing the bells from his roof along with son Abhishek Bachchan and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai.