The nationwide release of the film My Name Is Khan marks the triumph of democracy. The Shiv Sena which threatened to disrupt the screening of the film if Shah Rukh Khan did not apologise for his remarks favouring the inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in the Indian Premier League stands defeated. People have proved that there is no place for divisive forces in our country.
A new era dawned on Mumbai on Friday afternoon, when over 10 days of fanaticism and vandalism came to an end. The chauvinistic, fundamentalist political ideology that has tormented Mumbai for decades looks like a thing of the past. That the Indian youth know the value of the right to freedom of speech and expression is good news for the country.
Hats off to Shah Rukh Khan, the Maharashtra government, cinema owners and, of course, the Mumbaikars!
By braving the threats of the Shiv Sainiks, the people of Mumbai have proved that they cannot be cowed down. Shah Rukh Khan deserves praise for not giving in to the Sena’s pressure tactics. If more people give a fitting reply to such anti-social elements, divisive forces can be conclusively defeated.
V. Shujaath Ahmed,
It was all very well to see My Name Is Khan being released and the crowds surging to the cinemas to watch the movie. But political power flows from the ballot box, not the box office. I wish Mumbaikars showed half the enthusiasm they demonstrated on the first day of the first show of the movie’s release during the elections. One hopes that at the end of the day — when the actor, the producer and the theatre owners laugh their way to the bank — the aam aadmi will not forget his bigger duty.
It is unfortunate that the Centre and the Maharashtra government remained mute spectators while the Shiv Sena launched a campaign against Shah Rukh and threatened to disrupt the screening of My Name Is Khan till the eleventh hour. The Sena’s actions constituted an interference with the freedom of speech. That the State government watched silently as the Sena mobs went about destroying movie screens and threatening cinema owners is appalling.
The Shiv Sena-Shah Rukh showdown and the brouhaha surrounding the release of My Name Is Khan have given the film the much-needed publicity. Any publicity is good publicity, especially when it concerns a powerhouse like Shah Rukh Khan.
Watching a controversial film gives people a sense of triumph — like expressing some kind of defiance. That will truly be the USP of My Name...
The exploitation of people’s fear by the Shiv Sena is condemnable and regrettable. The energy the Sainiks spend on destructive activities can be better utilised to tackle people’s issues such as the plight of slum-dwellers and the threat of the underworld. The young expect a more mature and sensible behaviour from an experienced politician like Bal Thackeray.
J. Jyothi Lakshmi,
The Shiv Sena’s threat to disrupt the release of My Name Is Khan has yet again raised many disturbing questions on the threat to the freedom of speech. When we have a plethora of laws and bylaws to protect our fundamental rights, why do we always find the government reluctant to curb political hooliganism? The urgent need of the hour is to rid ourselves of the fear psychosis that parties like the Shiv Sena create.
It was indeed painful to see Sena activists terrorising cinema owners. It was more painful to see the authorities yet again showing reluctance to take on the Sena. The worst was the film industry’s failure to speak up for Shah Rukh Khan.
Time and again, Shiv Sainiks implement their divisive agenda in their own style. We respond by making noise and forget their acts till they start all over again. How long can this continue?
That an innocuous comment by Shah Rukh Khan could lead to a situation in which even the release of his film was uncertain forces one to conclude that actors should restrict themselves to their professions rather than saying things that directly or indirectly earn the wrath of some sections. Actors would do well to entertain instead of creating such disturbances.