An Open Letter To Anupam Kher
Dear Kher Sahab
I am one of the millions of people who has known you through your films, TV shows, and talks. Though, I don’t have any expertise in cinematic expressions, I am sure your work is considered par excellence by film fraternity. Your anecdotes about meeting other fellow foreign actors and working in some renowned films and series is an inspiration for those aspiring to learn the craft. Therefore, let me clarify at the outset that this letter is not to Anupam Kher- the artist but to the political actor.
Kher Sahab, I wanted to send you a mirror but realized of its vital omnipresence in your life given your profession. Also, a glass mirror would have failed anyway to reflect what you really need to take a hard look at. As I said, your skills to hide, hold, and change the emotions are beyond the ability of fragile mirrors whose capabilities are overrated at least in proverbial contexts. Therefore, sending you a virtual mirror of truth which might rebound facts by attempting to touch the darkest regions of your affinity for professional hatemongers guised as journalists.
Sir, you have asked your ‘journalist friends’ to stop sharing news articles to avoid a ‘negative start’ of the day. It is a totally reasonable request which should be respected. In fact, we should all strive to stay positive, keep the spirit up, and hope for your show’s catchphrase ‘kuch bhi ho sakta hai’ (anything is possible/anything can happen) to fructify in our lives. However, your newly found realization of the impact of negativity spread by the media does not absolve you of all the incinerations relished by you and your same ‘journalist friends’ notorious for putting positivity on pyres in this country.
Kher Sahab, I am sorry to inform you that your ‘journalist friends’ are neither journalists nor friends. They understand and propagate only one language – the language of hate and those drenched in hate can never be friends with anyone. Certainly not with truth, compassion, and humanity. This might break your heart but for your ‘journalist friends’ you have been nothing more than a popular and convenient cog in the wheel of mission division in our society. Was our society always united? Of course not! However, mull over your own and your friends’ contributions to exacerbate a situation reeling with various societal fault lines.
I remember one of your most powerful public performances (not cinema) was when you lambasted Judge Ganguly in Kolkata. The rage on your face and tremble in your voice seemed an honest outpour. Your ‘shocked’ and ‘saddened’ remarks earned claps and whistles from the crowd and a cheer from all of us looking for a change in a system rotten to the core. That day, you transformed from a character artist and established yourself as a hero for an average Indian citizen. However, after that your public appearances shout of poor script and half-hearted performances. Were these ‘journalist friends’ your director(s), only you could spill. By supporting the same ‘journalist friends’ who you intend to distance from, you legitimized shallowness, professional, and moral bankruptcy in our public sphere.
As we enter a new year with Covid hitting again and steering us into an infinite limbo loop, let me quickly give you a sense of what your ‘journalist friends’ have done to our mornings while sympathizing with yours. They have normalized communal violence, something that your own family witnessed. They do not see any problem in a crowd pouncing on individuals (be it Hindus or Muslims) and bludgeoning them for crimes they did not commit. They have mainstreamed hate by advocating inflammatory remarks and even resorting to them. They rejoice the death of soldiers for bringing TV ratings, approve incendiary remarks on Mahatma Gandhi and use the murder of Ankit Sharmas and Akhlaqs for their gains. They are turning jobless youths into hateful mobs and society into a cultural cauldron while ensuring quality life for themselves.
That Kher Sahab, is the average morning and evening of India because of your ‘journalist friends’ who we can not approach to say ‘no please’. You enjoyed the coterie, would you caution them? Not sure if your character from ‘Karma’ remembers the slap by Dilip Kumar but I hope that the negative shrills of your ‘journalist friends’ will echo enough to make you close your ears next time you talk to and promote their hate filled agenda/platforms.
A fan of art with doubt over heart