It's insane to ask Aamir to apologise, says Shabana

May 29, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Activist-actress Shabana Azmi who is in London says the ban on the screening of Aamir Khan-starrer "Fanaa" in Gujarat by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists is completely unjustified.

"The attack on Aamir must be condemned in the strongest words possible because it is completely unjustified," Shabana told IANS in a telephone interview.

"Vested interests have been attempting to turn his remarks for the rehabilitation of project-affected people in the Narmada dam (area) into remarks against Gujarat.

"Aamir has only said what the Supreme Court has said. It is insane to ask him to apologise for his remarks that have been twisted out of context on the basis of canard and innuendo."

Aamir has been in the eye of a storm since he expressed solidarity with the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and demanded proper rehabilitation of those displaced by the dam. BJP leaders have said the actor should apologise to the people of Gujarat.

But Shabana thinks Aamir is doing the right thing.

She said: "I am very proud of what Aamir has done - in giving voice to the voiceless. Any attempts to harm him and intimidate him will only make his resolve stronger to fight for social justice. The film industry needs to stand solidly behind Aamir and recognise that it is crucial to express solidarity with him. Today it is Aamir, tomorrow it can be XYZ."

It's not that Shabana has any issues on people protesting against Aamir.

"In a democracy the right to protest is an intrinsic freedom. If people wish to demonstrate against Aamir by holding placards outside the theatre showing 'Fanaa', it is acceptable. However, threats of violence should be dealt with firmly by the state and firm measures should be taken to maintain law and order.

"It is the state's business to ensure that those citizens who wish to see the film should have the freedom to do so. No political party has the right to jeopardise a film that has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification."

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