Even though actor Anupam Kher chose to remain subtle in his reply to colleague Naseeruddin Shah’s “clown” remark at him, Swaraj Kaushal, the former governor of Mizoram has called Shah an “ungrateful man” who seems unhappy despite being “given more than an equal opportunity” in the country.
“Mr Naseeruddin Shah, you are an ungrateful man. This country gave you all the name, fame and money. Yet you are a disillusioned man. You married outside your religion. No one ever said a word. Your brother became Lt. General of the Indian Army. Have you not been given more than an equal opportunity. Yet you are unhappy,” he tweeted.
Shah, in a recent interview to The Wire, while referring to the support the government was receiving from the film industry, gave the example of Kher and said that someone like him should not be taken seriously as he has been “sycophantic” through his years at National School of Drama and FTII.
“Someone like Anupam Kher has been very vocal. I don’t think he needs to be taken seriously. He is a clown. Any number of his contemporaries from NSD and FTII can testify to his sycophantic nature. It is in his blood. He can’t help it,” Shah said.
Kaushal in his defence of Kher said the actor was an honest, upright and self-made man, who did not forget his roots and allow stardom to affect him.
“The man has not forgotten his roots. He has not left his people. His family has a home in Srinagar. They are not able to live there because Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out of Kashmir. Is he not entitled to weep out his pain ? What is it that you have and Anupam Kher does not have ? You think you are a better actor than Anupam Kher ? You are sadly mistaken,” he tweeted.
Earlier, responding to Shah’s dig at him, Kher in a Twitter video had said that the actor’s comments come from his longstanding frustration.
“I don’t take your words seriously. I have never said ill about you, but I would say now that you despite getting so much of fame have lived your life in frustration. If you can criticise Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Shah Rukh Khan and Viral Kohli, then I am sure I am in great company,” Kher said.
Kaushal’s remarks, however, hasn’t gone down well with Twitter users, many of whom have called him out for his “married outside your religion” comment which sounded more like a favour done than a right of a citizen.
“Married outside your religion, no one said a word” Gee thanks for allowing that. That’s so sweet, almost noble. Seriously now, sir?!?!?!” tweeted noted filmmaker Atul Kasbekar.
“You said that You married outside your religion. No one ever said a word. Your brother became Lt.General of the Indian Army.’ No one did them any favours. They became on their own merit. Before you tweet I wish you looked at your own rhetoric,” posted another user.
Others criticised Kaushal for dragging Shah’s brother into the controversy.
You Mr Swaraj are one mean personality,
Where in India people are barred from marrying outside their religion?
I hope you agree that criticising Anupam Kher doesn’t mean criticising India.
His brother became Lt General on his merit and not because of anyone’s alms.
— Vishesh विशेष (@Vishesh4) January 23, 2020