Barely a week after spearheading a ‘March for India’ against writers returning awards, actor Anupam Kher launched an attack on writer Arundhati Roy, saying that she should give up her Booker Prize rather than returning the National Award she received.
“Why doesn’t Arundhati Roy give up her Man Booker Prize instead of the award for her best screenplay? Booker Prize is an international prize and as an ambassador of world peace, she should have given up that award citing Syrian crisis
Kher, who was at the forefront of protest against ‘Award Wapsi’ by writers and filmmakers, also charged them with sullying the image of the country. “The intolerance campaign has tarnished the image of the country. Writers like Arundhati Roy are unfathomable to layman/woman and we shouldn’t forget that she made statements like Kashmir should go with Pakistan,” Kher said.
Kher said that even foreign media is biased in reporting about India and they posed queries only on intolerance.
“The BBC interview was a selective one about intolerance. Foreign media chooses what suits them. I raised my concern in the interview and I think it’s not aired,” Kher said, adding that the New York Times and The Economist have highlighted intolerance instead of the development aspects of India.
“International media has headlines like ‘India no more a tolerant country’. The intolerance level in those countries may be higher than India,” he added.
On the raging controversy over Tipu Sultan in Karnataka, Kher said actor Girish Karnad shouldn’t have made comments about renaming Bangalore airport, replacing name of 16th century city founder Kempe Gowda with Tipu.
“Karnad is a senior actor and I feel that he shouldn’t have made comments (for) which he had to apologise later,” the actor said.
“I met the prime minister after the march. The writers, who returned the awards, never asked for an audience with the PM. Poet Munnawar Rana who returned the award said on TV that he wanted to meet the PM. The PMO got in touch with him, but he never responded,” said Kher. Hitting out at film director Dibakar Banerjee, who returned his National Aaward, Kher said that Banerjee has misled people.