Sunday, April 16, 2006

Amir plays his next card, supports NBA movement

Amir Khan is in the news again. His latest outburst over the sensationalisation of the news stories by the media is still fresh in our memories. Most of us had applauded him for the same considering that few superstars had done such a thing before. This time though, he seems to be trying to bite off more than what he can chew.

Don't get me wrong - on the face value I would still call his decision to support the Narmada Bachao Andolan to be a brave step for a noble cause. I have no reason to believe that it wasn't done with the best of the intentions in his mind. If nothing else, it should only give more publicity to a movement which is constantly being ignored by the successive governments(one central and four state govts) formed by different political parties at different times. But how much value is it going to add to the ongoing movement?

The politicians should be a little worried: this might awaken a few more sleeping citizen who were eagerly waiting for Amir Khan's next release Fanaah to a more serious issue. The media should be happy: they can start giving the NBA movement the prime time focus from now on and make it their cover story for a while. The NBA activists should be happy too, for they have one more spokesperson to help their message reach out to the common(read film-crazy) people. In the current equation, there can only be one loser: Amir Khan himself.

Amir has gone on the records that he wouldn't care if its going to negatively impact the performance of his forthcoming films. He has also made it clear that his involvement in the cause would be an active one. What he seems to be lacking in is the experience. He doesn't seem to have done his homework properly before plunging into a serious issue like the NBA movement, where he will have to discover the fact that fighting with the politicians would not be as easy as standing against the media. Here are a couple of examples showing his immaturity:

1. When asked why he thinks the rehabilitation should be a an easy job, he said "Politicians have got so much of wealth with them, can't they build small houses for a few poor families?" I am sure he meant 'government' there and not the politicians(so absurd to expect the politicians to part with their personal wealth to take care of the poor), but pardoning his 'slip of the tongue' for a moment, is he really so sure that the Indian government is so rich that rehabilitating the displaced families in narmada valley is such a trivial task for them?

2. When asked if he will be participating with the other NBA activists in their dharnas to register his protest, he shot back that staging and participating in the dharnas is not his job. Well Amir, we understand that your job is to act in the films, but how does that help in making political statements sitting in the comforts of the air-conditioned rooms and appealing to the common public to come out in the open, in the scorching heat of the sun to join the NBA movement? is that what is your job?

I respect the courage of Amir Khan to have come out in the open with the issues which had kept him bothering in the recent past - better be late than never - but I also hope that he doesn't vanish into the thin air after making some bold statements, by succumbing to the ordeals that come with such an undertaking, or by not being able to stand the rigours of standing against the politicians. The issue also is not a two dimensional one where the politicians could be assumed to be certainly on the wrong and the NBA activists to be on the right side(Govt did rehabilitate a lot of families, they still are trying their best to follow the supreme court directives, the demand to stop the construction of the dam to raise its height is universally condemned etc). Is Amir Khan(also Rahul Bose etc who are supporting the NBA's cause) ready for understanding all the dynamics involved in such a complex issue and take a bold and educated stand about it?

PS: Amir Khan had also visited the office of ANHAD a week ago reaffirming his support towards the studies of the children who had lost a year of education due to Gujarat riots.

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