Government invites Bollywood for dialogue on CAA

Javed Akhtar. File   | Photo Credit: THE HINDU

A “dialogue over CAA with the government” with “scrumptious dinner” thrown in. An invitation sent to leading Bollywood figures on January 3 to meet Union Minister Piyush Goyal has been doing feverish rounds in the entertainment media WhatsApp groups on January 4. While practically all the big names are said to have been invited for the discussion with the Union Minister of Railways, Commerce and Industry, scheduled to be held on January 5 at 8 p.m. at Grand Hyatt, most are yet to confirm their presence. Of those critical of CAA — Javed and Farhan Akhtar and Kabir Khan — are said to have been invited but Anurag Kashyap, Anubhav Sinha, Swara Bhaskar etc. are not on the list of invitees.

The invitation states that the government strongly believes in a healthy discussion around all the possible dimensions of the issue: “The idea behind the meeting is quite inclusive in approach and we request a participation of all the rational thoughts and different points of view pertaining to the Citizenship Amendment Act”. However, one industry insider, on the condition of anonymity, said, “I don’t see a point in going. I don’t think they are willing to listen”.

Organised by film producer Mahaveer Jain, it seems yet another move by the government to try and win the perception war using Bollywood as a weapon. Just as it did before the elections. However, this time, the industry seems more polarised than ever before with a lot of younger stars taking an openly anti CAA/NRC stance and the big names preferring to remain silent. "The government is rattled. This has been a ceaseless PR disaster for them both nationally and internationally. The protests are not dying and there is a staggering number that is protesting. It's a desperate measure to save face and the government knows how to use Bollywood [for it]," said another industry person.

While one set believes that tweets from Bollywood stars, in support of the CAA might now start flowing Monday onwards, there is also the perception that though the government might be trying to get in as many names and faces as possible, not many might eventually turn up at the meeting. "We hope that Bollywood would be shamed into not going for the meeting," said an anti-CAA film personality. It can only be speculated for now whether another Bollywood selfie would happen on January 5 night or a statement made. 

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 4:03:05 PM |

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