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Actor Naseeruddin Shah has supported actor Deepika Padukone’s visited to the Jawaharlal Nehru University, calling it “courageous”. In a recent interview with The Wire, Naseer talked at length about the protests against the CAA, the deafening silence of big Bollywood celebrities on it, the student protests and Deepika’s decision to show solidarity.
When asked if speaking against the ruling party or voicing their opinions could cause harm to an actor or the film they are associated with, Naseer said the actor usually think only of themselves. “Otherwise there’d be more parity. But that’s a story for another day,” he said. He then said he lauded the courage of Deepika for visiting JNU.
“You have to laud the courage of a girl like Deepika who is in the top firmament and yet takes a step like this. Even if she has a lot to lose,” he said. He also seemed confident that those against her will soon forget it all. “Let us see how she takes it. She’ll lose a few endorsement, sure. Will that impoverish her? Will that lessen her popularity? Will that make her less beautiful than she is? They’re gonna come around sooner or later. The only god that film industry worships is money,” he added.
Naseer had less kind words for his A Wednesday co-star Anupam Kher, who vocally endorses the government and its policies on Twitter. “Someone like Anupam Kher has been very vocal. I don’t think he needs to be taken seriously. He’s a clown. Any number of his contemporaries from NFD and FTII can attest to his sycophantic nature. It’s in his blood, he can’t help it.”
Earlier in November, Naseeruddin was among the 100 prominent Muslim citizens from across the country who opposed the decision by some litigants to file a review petition challenging the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict, saying that keeping the dispute alive will harm the community.
A couple of years ago, Naseeruddin courted controversy when he said he felt unsure about the safety of his children in the country due to the rising communal temperament. “I feel anxious for my children because tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and asks, ‘Are you a Hindu or a Muslim?’ they will have no answer,” he had said.