A few days before the release of Laal Singh Chaddha (Aug 11), the Aamir Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer finds itself embroiled in controversy. Hashtags calling for a boycott of the film are now trending on social media.
Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor are known not to mince words where it comes to calling out a spade. In the recent and not very recent past too, Bebo has rubbed people the wrong way by making remarks such as “don’t watch my films if you think I have an attitude” or “it makes no difference whether one wants to watch my films or not.”
The question, however, is: Why is the #boycottLaal Singh Chaddha trending now? While conspiracy theorists seem to suggest that the fire was sparked by the actors themselves given that even negative publicity is publicity after all, some feel that this is fandom’s way of setting the duo straight. Of course, right wing backers have endorsed the boycott as a way to mend the “free thinking Khan and the gritty Bebo married to another Khan.”
The reaction to most celebrity actions does operate on two levels. The apparent level deals with the opinion per se, while the inherent works on a much-broader theme of the individual’s worldview. In the case of a celebrity, the former is short-lived. The latter tends to be more deep-rooted and fans hold that the public figure must act responsibly, especially when dealing with sensitive issues.
Watch some reactions here:
Aamir’s remark about “growing intolerance in the country” were dug out from his 2015 interview. During an event Aamir had said, “As an individual, as part of this country as a citizen, we read in the papers what is happening, we see it on the news and certainly, I have been alarmed. I can’t deny. I have been alarmed by a number of incidents”.
He added, “When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child.”
Later, Aamir had clarified that his remarks were taken out of context and his intention wasn’t to harm anyone. “I was hurt and along with me many people have been hurt because of this misunderstanding. I give this credit to the media because you all have twisted my words. I request you all that please don’t do this,” Aamir said.
Aamir’s Turkey visit was the final nail because politically speaking, Turkey has made its anti-India stance extremely vocal and public. The Turkish premier, who fancies himself as saviour of Islam and Muslims, is pushing for a non-Arab alliance where Pakistan would play a significant role. Reports indicate that the two have been cosying up against India.
Aamir Khan’s pictures with the Turkish First Lady, Emine Erdogan in 2020 flooded social media and also incurred the wrath of thousands. However, this was not the first time that the actor met the Turkish premier. In 2017, Khan had met with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In some way, there is no difference between the Aamir Khan of 2017 and the Aamir Khan of 2020. Both visits to Turkey were work-oriented—the latter being for a location recce for Laal Singh Chaddha.
Laal Singh Chaddha is an official remake of the 1994 American Forrest Gump which itself is based on Winston Groom’s 1986 novel of the same name. The film features Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Naga Chaitanya and Mona Singh. It is a dark comedy-drama directed by Advait Chandan of Secret Superstar fame, with the screenplay by Eric Roth and adaptation by Atul Kulkarni.