Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Is Bollywood’s unity a farce?
For more than a week now, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan has been in the centre of a storm — after his comments supporting the participation of Pakistani players in the Indian Premier League.
In the same time period, we have also seen the half-hearted response that the Shiv Sena’s response evoked from Bollywood. Not a single producers’ body or any industry organisation has spoken out against the fact that the Sena might prevent “My Name is Khan” from being released.
There have been some sporadic voices, mostly on social networking sites like Twitter, or some quotes on television, but hardly any concrete voices.
There has been some criticism of the fact that Amitabh Bachchan spoke of the “fire in the belly” of Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, but one mustn’t forget that when Bachchan and his family were targeted by Sena rival MNS, he didn’t see much support from the film industry either.
What good does a tweet do? Or a soundbite? Isn’t it time Bollywood got together to make sure threats don’t derail their business? We saw enough unity among producers when it came to re-negotiating a deal for more money from multiplexes. Where is that unity now?
Of course, like all non-issues, this one too will die a natural death. The Sena will get eyeballs, Khan will get sympathy (and thus publicity for his upcoming film) and the media will get enough steam for at least a couple more chat shows and prime time debates.
But I do hope Bollywood learns a lesson and will stand up for something the next time this happens.