After vicious remarks by BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, Yogi Adityanath and Baba Ramdev, Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has received tremendous support from all quarters.
Shah Rukh Khan on Monday said there was "nothing worse than religious intolerance and that it would take India to the Dark Ages"
Anupam Kher has come out in support of Shah Rukh Khan after Yogi Adityanath compared the Bollywood superstar with Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed for his comments over intolerance in India. (Read more)
Some members of the BJP really need to control their tongue & stop talking rubbish about @iamsrk. He is a national icon & We r PROUD of him.— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) November 4, 2015
Filmmaker Aparna Sen on Tuesday lashed out against Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Sadhvi Prachi's 'Pakistani agent' comments on Shah Rukh Khan, calling for legal action against the leader. (Read more)
Can't believe Sadhvi's reaction to SRK on tv! They're ones who want to break the country apart! There should be legal action against her!— Aparna Sen (@senaparna) November 3, 2015
Raghu Ram minced no words while expressing his displeasure over unwarranted attacks on SRK.
These clowns are no one to question anyone's patriotism. Honest criticism isn't anti-national. It's democratic #IStandwithSRK— Raghu Ram (@tweetfromRaghu) November 4, 2015
Imo anyone who attacks critics as anti-national coz of their religion is anti-democracy, and hence, anti-national themselves #IStandwithSRK— Raghu Ram (@tweetfromRaghu) November 4, 2015
Vishal Dadlani vouched for SRK's patriotism
No rabid maniacs can 'destroy' India. An inclusive India was here before them & will be here long after them. Peace & love will ALWAYS win!— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) November 4, 2015
However, superstar Salman Khan refused to be drawn into the debate over BJP leaders' attack on his contemporary Shah Rukh Khan for his "extreme intolerance" comment.
Salman added he was not "aware" of Shah Rukh's remarks on intolerance and hence could not answer the question.
Actress Sonam Kapoor came to Salman's rescue when the "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" star was bombarded with questions on the ongoing political furore over "growing intolerance" comments by Shah Rukh Khan.
While promoting their upcoming film, 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo', she took the mike to answer on Salman's behalf, giving a glimpse of her trademark brazen honesty. "I will answer that question. I think it will be better if I answer that question...Anything that is intolerant or anything that is said without correct evidence is completely unacceptable. So people just saying things in the name of religion, class, creed is totally disgusting," she said.
Amidst all the hate storms blowing against Shah Rukh Khan, National Award winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar came up in support of him and said that blaming the Bollywood superstar like this is wrong.
"Whoever has said this, is his personal view. I think blaming Shah Rukh Khan like this is wrong. The nation loves him and he is a big superstar," Bhandarkar told ANI.
Even Kerala film personalities backed Shah Rukh Khan in the row over his comment on growing intolerance in the country.
Comedian Jagdish said this sort of "fascist outlook" should be rejected outright. "I know the actor quite well as I was fortunate to act along with him in one film and he is a truly secular person in all respects," said the actor.
Malayalam film director B. Unnikrishnan said Shah Rukh took a stand with no ulterior motives and the BJP should ensure that such things are kept out.
However, BJP MP and popular Bhojpuri singer Manoj Tiwari on Wednesday condemned superstar Shah Rukh Khan's statements on the growing intolerance in the country.
"He (Shah Rukh Khan) has issued a statement when the Bihar elections are going on. He has always been close to Congress party and his closeness has been seen before as well. I consider his statement as a political comment. If there was any kind of intolerance in the country, he wouldn’t have been one of the top superstars in India. He should keep this fact in his mind that whatever statement he makes, it makes a big impact."
Here is what other celebs have to say on the raging 'intolerance' debate:
Filmmakers who have returned their awards to protest impediments to freedom of speech and growing intolerance in India include names like director Dibakar Banerjee, documentary filmmakers Anand Pathwardhan and Nishtha Jain, among others.
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan said he will not be returning his Padma Shri or other honours. In an interview, the "Chennai Express" star, said: "The country is becoming increasingly intolerant. Respect those who returned government awards, but (I) won't return mine."
Disapproving those returning their awards to protest against growing intolerance, superstar Kamal Haasan said giving back the awards is not a solution to the problem as there are other ways to draw attention.
"Nothing will happen by returning the awards. You will insult the government or the people who gave you the award with love. That will bring attention to it but there are many more ways," said the 60-year-old actor.
Actor Randeep Hooda, who believes that intolerance was always there in the country, albeit in isolation, said the ongoing controversy on the issue was being "sensationalised" and "politicised".
"It's sad that people are trying to get mileage out of it and media is sensationalising it. I don't think it should be sensationalised because it encourages more (intolerance)," Randeep told the media in Mumbai.
Blaming the noise around intolerance for drowning out real issues, noted actress Surpiya Pathak today said that returning awards is not a solution to the problems the country is facing.
"Intolerance is there in the country for sure. Everyone is feeling that. We all are trying to do our bit be it by returning the awards or by other means. But we should not make it an issue," Pathak said.
Actress Raima Sen said there was intolerance in the country, but opposed the writers, scientists and filmmakers returning their awards on the issue, terming their action "stupidity".
Raima, however, refused to be drawn further into issues like the beef controversy and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Sadhvi Prachi calling actor Shah Rukh Khan a "Pakistani agent". "I have no comments on these issues, I don't want to be drawn into a controversy," the actress said.
Supporting the stand of filmmakers and writers returning their National and Akademi awards respectively, veteran actress Shabana Azmi termed it a 'symbolic gesture' to raise awareness about "growing intolerance".
"It is not an either or. Artists returning awards will also reflect their concern in their work but making a film writing a book takes time...Returning awards is a symbolic gesture that brings attention. Instead of damning them read the writing on the wall," Azmi wrote on Twitter.
However, veteran devotional singer Anup Jalota has termed the trend of returning National and Akademi Awards in protest against "growing intolerance" an "insult" to the nation.
"The award given to them is a National Award and returning that in protest of any issue is nothing but an insult to not only that award but the nation itself. The community could sit together and meet the President of the country in order to express their protest to ease the situation," Jalota said.
(With inputs from agencies)