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Why doesn’t Arundhati Roy give up Man Booker, asks Anupam Kher

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News Delhi: 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 asked a news agency.

Kher is in Delhi with his play “Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha” which will be staged on Saturday.

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.

Referring to one of his interviews in Singapore, Kher said that even foreign media is biased in reporting about India and they posed queries only on intolerance.

“The 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 the 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.

Kher’s ‘March for India’ also kicked up a controversy after journalist Barkha Dutt was allegedly heckled by the protesters. Though Kher extended an apology, he said there was no documentary evidence of such an incident.

“There is no footage showing abuse or name calling of the journalist. I think that it could be a planted one,” he said.

Calling those returning their awards as pseudo-intellectuals, Kher also alleged that they have never asked an audience with the prime minister on the issue.

“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 Award, Kher said that Banerjee has misled people.

“Though Dibakar got National Award for two films, he returned the award for ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’ which belonged to the producer. He never returned the one for ‘Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye’, because the producer was Walt Disney. And he said that ‘Maine apne hisse ka award wapas kiya hai’.”

Kher also felt that it’s a campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “All these people never wanted Modi as prime minister. Suddenly, India has become intolerant for them. Emergency was the worst India ever witnessed, so was the Sikh massacre. Why didn’t they respond when the Kashmiri Pandits were driven out of the state?”

Refuting charges that his moves are politically motivated, Kher said he has never minced words on issues. “I haven’t gained anything politically. I marched for my country. I have spoken against Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment in FTII and also against attacks on Shah Rukh Khan,” said Kher.

The actor is unfazed about any backlash on his acting projects.

“I have millions to support me. The tickets for my play are sold out a month before. The common man doesn’t listen to the intellectual nonsense by a section of people,” he said.

(Preetha Nair, IANS)

 

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Welcome the new Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Anupam Kher

Actor Kabir Bedi said Anupam “would do wonders” in his new role

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Veteran actor Anupam Kher. Wikimedia

Pune, October 11, 2017 : Anupam Kher, an actor with a repertoire of over 500 movies including international projects, was named Chairman of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. The film industry hailed the move.

Official sources confirmed Anupam’s appointment. He will succeed the controversial Gajendra Chauhan, whose appointment had triggered student protests.

Anupam’s wife Kirron Kher, an actress and BJP MP from Chandigarh, told Times NOW: “I’m very happy. Of course, it’s a challenging job for anybody. It’s not going to be an easy job. These chairmanships are crown of thorns. Here, people do get against you, but I am sure Anupam will be able to take them along because he is an extremely talented person.”

Anupam, who began his acting career with “Saaransh” in 1984, also has his own acting institute Actor Prepares.

Kirron said Anupam was the right choice to head the FTII, which provides training in acting, direction and other technical aspects of film making in a country which is one of the largest producers of movies.

ALSO READ Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune to Screen Films Made by its Alumni from August 5

“My husband is a very fine actor. He has been in the film industry for so many years. He is very capable of (being FTII head).

“He has been teaching acting for so long. He is the only person who earlier headed CBFC, then National School of Drama and now has been appointed Chairman of FTII.

“So, I am a very proud wife today. I would like to thank the government and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry,” she said.

Asked what she meant by ‘crown of thorns’, she said: “I meant the CBFC, not FTII.”

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar tweeted: “Heartiest congratulations to Anupam Kher for being appointed as the Chairman of FTII.”

Filmmaker Pritish Nandy called it an “excellent change” at FTII. “Finally, the government is listening to us.”

Actor Kabir Bedi said Anupam “would do wonders” in his new role. (IANS)