Priyanka Chopra, ABC apologise for portrayal of Hindu terror plot, but who will apologise for the depiction of ‘Iqbals’ and ‘Roberts’ as anti-social elements?


Actor Priyanka Chopra apologised for the portrayal of a group of Indians plotting to launch a nuclear strike in America in order to defame Pakistanis in the recent episode of her US TV serial Quantico.

Photo: Twitter

Taking to Twitter, Priyanka wrote, “I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico. That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise. I’m a proud Indian and that will never change.”

Her apology, even though she was not even remotely involved in deciding the story line, came amidst nasty campaign by Hindutva forces in India, who demanded her removal as the brand ambassador of Samsung Electronics. This campaign was reminiscent of a similar campaign carried out by the BJP supporters against actor Aamir Khan after his comments expressing his wife’s fear due to growing religious intolerance in India angered the BJP and its ideological friends.

The Centre’s Narendra Modi government had quickly dumped him as the brand ambassador of its Incredible India campaign, while senior leaders joined a campaign to have the Dangal actor dropped as the brand ambassador of Snapdeal, which had no option but to give in to the demands of BJP supporters.

Prior to Priyanka’s apology, the makers of Quantico, ABC Studio, too issued an apology for hurting the sentiments of Indians. The statement by Walt Disney-owned ABC said, “The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it.” “The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue. It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone,” news agency Reuters quoted the ABC as saying.

Even though Priyanka’s apology did very little to calm down the Hindutva trolls, many of whom audaciously asked her to never return to India, this ignited a new debate on whether Bollywood in particular would issue multiple apologies to India’s Muslim and Christian communities for historically portraying the members of the minority communities either as anti-social elements or terrorists.

User Ajay Kamath spoke for millions when he wrote this, “So if ABC has apologised for the Quantico kerfaffle, Bollywood will be apologising next week onwards- to the Muslims, for every Iqbal shown to be an underworld don to the Christians, for every Robert who was a smuggler and/ or an alcoholic,”

The fact that Kamath with little over 300 followers on Twitter has had his above tweet shared more than 1,500 times shows the kind of chord he’s struck in India. Kamath’s response wasn’t in isolation. Similar sentiments were expressed by other social media users too.

One hopes that journalist Rana Ayyub’s apprehension remains ill-founded and filmmakers around the world stop vilifying Muslims in their future creative plots. While responding a tweet seeking apology from American filmmakers by author Fatima Bhutto, Ayyub had written, “now thats expecting a bit much (sic).”