Why doesn't Arundhati Roy give up Man Booker over Syrian crisis, asks Anupam Kher

New Delhi: Barely a week after spearheading a 'March for India' against writers returning awards, actor Anupam Kher launched an attack on writer Arundhati Roy, saying that she should give up her Booker Prize rather than returning the National Award she received.

ALSO READ: Arundhati Roy returns national award against 'ideological viciousness'

"Why doesn't Arundhati Roy give up her Man Booker Prize instead of the award for her best screenplay? Booker Prize is an international prize and as an ambassador of world peace, she should have given up that award citing Syrian crisis," Kher told IANS.

Anupam Kher and Arundhati Roy

Kher is in Delhi with his play "Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha" which will be staged on Saturday.

Kher, who was at the forefront of protest against 'Award Wapsi' by writers and filmmakers, also charged them with sullying the image of the country.

"The intolerance campaign has tarnished the image of the country. Writers like Arundhati Roy are unfathomable to layman/woman and we shouldn't forget that she made statements like Kashmir should go with Pakistan," Kher said.

Referring to his recent BBC interview in Singapore, Kher said that even foreign media is biased in reporting about India and they posed queries only on intolerance.

"The BBC interview was a selective one about intolerance. Foreign media chooses what suits them. I raised my concern in the interview and I think it's not aired," Kher said, adding that the New York Times and The Economist have highlighted intolerance instead of the development aspects of India.

"International media has headlines like 'India no more a tolerant country'. The intolerance level in those countries may be higher than India," he added.

On the raging controversy over Tipu Sultan in Karnataka, Kher said actor Girish Karnad shouldn't have made comments about renaming Bangalore airport, replacing name of 16th century city founder Kempe Gowda with Tipu.

"Karnad is a senior actor and I feel that he shouldn't have made comments (for) which he had to apologise later," the actor said.

Kher's 'March for India' also kicked up a controversy after journalist Barkha Dutt was allegedly heckled by the protestors. Though Kher extended an apology, he said there was no documentary evidence of such an incident.

"There is no footage showing abuse or name calling of the journalist. I think that it could be a planted one," he said.

Calling those returning their awards as pseudo-intellectuals, Kher also alleged that they have never asked an audience with the prime minister on the issue.

"I met the prime minister after the march. The writers, who returned the awards, never asked for an audience with the PM. Poet Munnawar Rana who returned the award said on TV that he wanted to meet the PM. The PMO got in touch with him, but he never responded," said Kher.

Hitting out at film director Dibakar Banerjee, who returned his National Aaward, Kher said that Banerjee has misled people.

"Though Dibakar got National Award for two films, he returned the award for 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' which belonged to the producer. He never returned the one for 'Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye', because the producer was Walt Disney. And he said that 'Maine apne hisse ka award wapas kiya hai'."

Kher also felt that it's a campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "All these people never wanted Modi as prime minister. Suddenly, India has become intolerant for them. Emergency was the worst India ever witnessed, so was the Sikh massacre. Why didn't they respond when the Kashmiri Pandits were driven out of the state?"

Refuting charges that his moves are politically motivated, Kher said he has never minced words on issues. "I haven't gained anything politically. I marched for my country. I have spoken against Gajendra Chauhan's appointment in FTII and also against attacks on Shah Rukh Khan," said Kher.

The actor is unfazed about any backlash on his acting projects.

"I have millions to support me. The tickets for my play are sold out a month before. The common man doesn't listen to the intellectual nonsense by a section of people," he said.

  • RAMESH BABU M.P.22-Nov-2015

    YES. INTOLERANCE IS THERE. BUT IT IS SINCE 1942. The award was presented by an organisation and not by BJP Government or Congress Govt. The poets have to reject the award while they were facilitated with the award, and money. But returning now is not do any kind of justice to the Literature and also for nation.

  • Anil Pais20-Nov-2015

    Anupam Kher should stick to acting and not involve himself in dirty politics. I doubt whether he actually understands what he is saying!!!

  • Babu20-Nov-2015

    He become so foolish that he doesn't know Booker Prize is not given by any government org.

  • Shardool Mishra21-Nov-2015

    Anil Pais: He is probably of age of your father and if you really want to know if he means what he says, try to google him.Babu: Thats exactly what he meant, that booker is not given by government that is why they are not returning the awards. If they are so worried about intolerance, they should return international awards for international issues also.Harish: All he means is award returning has no value, if they really want a resolution of a problem, try talking to PM.

  • Sam24-Nov-2015

    As much as the writers have the right to air their protest, Anupam Kher has the right to have an opinion. If you don't like it leave it. Why are you guys (Anil, Babu, Harish, Venu and Yuuf) trying to attack him for it? You only support a protest when it suits you?

  • Jeany23-Nov-2015

    What is wrong with this Man Anupam Kher? Is he talking rubbish on his wife's behalf? I think he should just shut his mouth and stick to acting, because he is making a fool of himself and showing his ignorance.

  • Indeevar23-Nov-2015

    Actually she has to return now and becoz her favorite 'special minorities' and facing backlash after paris attacks. pls ask her to return then 3 cr. cash prize and mann booker prize to cameron

  • Harish20-Nov-2015

    This is exactly the type of attitude because of which returning of awards can be justified. Now Kher believes that everyone has to do as per his logic of right or wrong.

  • dr vijay chourdia20-Nov-2015

    arundhati is too controversial has lost all respect n is being hated for all his activities seen in kashmir with seperatists,natak of intolerance etc

  • jcrosse22-Nov-2015

    This intolerant fool from Kashmir should stop kissing up to the BJP. .He is carrying a grouch being a pundit and wants to spew hatred.

  • abc23-Nov-2015

    Don't know why Actors can judge a famous Writer in my Country, Arundhati Roy is not only renowned for her work in India but worldwide and this is the praise she gets from a fellow countrymen. Shame and I hope She ignores comments from such guy who doesn't even know the 'L' of Literature.

  • Nilesh Tendulkar23-Nov-2015

    Anupam, you are a good actor - please keep your viewpoint to acting alone. Don't smear yourself in the political dirt. If you want to be a politician, then do it full time with not only mincing no words but with no integrity and sefl respect as well. As of now you are acting like a spokesperson of a party or perhaps your wife the party she represents. We have enough intellectuals like you

  • K M Venugopalan20-Nov-2015

    stupid man..why is he given that much importance here?!

  • yusuf shaikh21-Nov-2015

    He is real Modi bhakt. Talking non sense.

  • Sam23-Nov-2015

    Are people really stupid ? It is common sense to understand the so called intellectuals have no intellect. Why have they all suddenly become conscious of intolerance. There have been more serious issues in the past and also ongoing and they never thought it was necessary to protest at that time. Like some one stated, are these so called intellectuals returning the award money as well with interest ? Foolish and laughable.You dont need to be someone's bhakt to understand what is happening!

  • Akhlesh24-Nov-2015

    Yusuf- I am not Modi bhakt or any of that matter. But it is clearly visible that Modi is being targetted. Kher is talking sense. What part of his statement made no sense to you? Can you be little specificJust by saying Modi bhakt you cannot refute any logical claim.

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