Naseeruddin Shah calls Anupam Kher a 'clown' for his jingoistic views

Naseeruddin Shah calls Anupam Kher a 'clown' for his jingoistic views

In his latest interview, Shah also spoke about the CAA protests, the rise of communalism and why Bollywood remains mum.
Updated 24 Jan, 2020

In a candid interview with The Wire, veteran Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah says, "I am not afraid, I am not anxious, I am angry.”

Shah, who is not only one of the best actors in India but is someone who does not hold back from expressing his views and engaging in current issues.

In the interview, Shah is blunt and forthright, covering a wide range of subjects, such as the ongoing anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests, the rise of communalism and why the big names of the film industry remain silent.

Shah says the views he holds are not because he is a Muslim, and that he's never considered singling himself out as a Muslim in India before. His identity had never been an obstacle in any way before.

His family has been in the ranks of the army and administrators in the Indian government at different times, and never in his life has he ever felt that being a Muslim was a handicap. Now, he points out, he is reminded of that identity all the time, which is very worrying.

Shah argues he doesn't need reassurances that Muslims in India should not worry; he is not worried. If living here for 70 years does not prove that he's an Indian then he doesn't know what will.

He continues and says that the rise of India’s young against the current dispensation is amazing, he says. “Even in the film industry, the younger actors and directors have risen against this law,” he adds. The silence of the big-name stars is not surprising, he says – they feel they have a lot to lose. But even Deepika Padukone has a lot to lose, he argues, and she did come out in public to show her solidarity.

He then said he lauded the courage of Deepika for visiting JNU. However, he didn't extend the same kindness to another member of the fraternity.

"Someone like Anupam Kher has been very vocal. I don’t think he needs to be taken seriously. He’s a clown. Any number of his contemporaries from NFD and FTII can attest to his sycophantic nature. It’s in his blood, he can’t help it," he shared. Ouch!

On being asked about the ongoing protests in India, Shah says, "The youth has suddenly risen. They've suddenly realised that they've been trampled upon. Just today I read in the paper that the education budget has been massively cut. It's because we're spending that money on other things, like redoing the NRC. But even that is a futile exercise as it totally flopped according to the ruling party as there were several hundred thousand Hindus as well. Then they've created the escape clause of the CAA, where citizenship will be granted to you if you're a non-Muslim."

"The important flaw one notices is that it excludes Muslims, which is not surprising. But I did not expect the centre to be so blatant about it. What people haven't noticed is the more insidious side of it, that according to them repression only happens in Muslim countries, there's no mention of Myanmar and there's no mention of Sri Lanka."

Since the interview has aired, Kher has responded to Shah's comments:

"I have never said anything bad about you but now, I will. Even after achieving so much in life, you have spent it in frustration. If you can criticise Dilip Kumar sahab, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Shah Rukh Khan and Virat Kohli, then I'm sure I'm in great company. None of them have ever taken your statements seriously as we all know that due to the substances you have been taking all these years, you don't realise the difference between what is right and what is wrong," he said.

He further said that if Shah gets "some headlines" by criticising him, then it would be his gift to him.

"And do you know what is there in my blood? Hindustan. Just understand this."


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Tariq Jan 23, 2020 02:04pm
Anupam Kher says "And do you know what is there in my blood? Hindustan. Just understand this." Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel - Samuel Johnson.
Imran Jan 23, 2020 02:33pm
Mr shah is simply a class act and yes Cab is a discrimination against Muslims.
stethoscope Jan 23, 2020 03:19pm
Shah will be known for questioning blind nationalism in a 100 years time. These other poeple who just care about their career or are misinformed about patriotism will be nobodies.
Desh bandhu Chopra Jan 23, 2020 03:38pm
Shah is spot on. Kher has chamchagiri in his blood. If he does not take Shah seriously, then why is he spewing so much venom? What does he mean by " substances' that he has been taking? Rubbish. This is the peculiar trend of the BJP Fascists to defame anybody who talks sense. They repeat a falsehood a thousand times to turn it into truth. The Modi-Shah duo , by bringing this heinous CAA and NPR have done something which was urgently needed. They have united the whole country against these demonic legislations. Especially the womenfolk and students. The movement against CAA and NPR would produce many Bhagat Singhs, Rajgurus and Ashfaqs. And Messrs Modi and Shah would have no idea how to handle them. The BJP is digging its own grave and the day is not far when it would bury itself under the weight of its own sins.
Salman Jan 23, 2020 03:46pm
I grew up being patriotic. Thankfully I saw the evil side of it eventually and gave it up. There's nothing more dangerous than blind patriotism. Love your country, but don't defend it unconditionally.
AZAM AKBAR Jan 23, 2020 04:29pm
Mr. Naseeruddeen Shah is right and a great human being.
Abbas Jan 23, 2020 04:53pm
What is happening in India is exactly what happened in Hitlers Germany pre WWII. There also millions followed and cheered for the fascist leader, here also its the same.
Farouq Omaro Jan 23, 2020 05:42pm
Anupam Kher sounds childish.
Bhaijan Jan 23, 2020 05:56pm
Nasiruddin Shah is right. BJP today has one point agenda. That’s to distract and divert attention of people from grave economy to mess all into controversial laws.
Neutral Indian Jan 23, 2020 06:00pm
Naseeruddin Shah is not just a decent human being but also a courageous soul standing up for what he believes is right. - a South Indian Hindu
Changez Khan Jan 23, 2020 08:42pm
Agree with Naseeruddin Shah. BJP not only obsessed with Pakistan it is also messing up its own country.
Yawar Jan 23, 2020 08:43pm
By replying to Shah the way he did, Kher has proved Shah's one word assessment of him to be absolutely correct. Salute to you Mr Shah for fearlessly speaking your mind to expose the bigoted and racially biased nature of the BJP.
Ibrahim S Jan 23, 2020 09:10pm
@Salman , I agree 100%. For those desi who grow up with hate in India , Pakistan, BD, etc are now Best best friend Living outside of South Asia There is something terribly wrong with our society.
Maud Jan 23, 2020 09:13pm
Shah's struggle against the RSS-BJP mafia is the only thing worth doing before the national communal harmony goes into tatters.
Kumar(Varanasi) Jan 23, 2020 10:52pm
What both of them said about each other is right to some extent. Anupam kher is indeed joker and chamcha type. Shah in his old age is an embittered man inspire of his success .
Kumar(Varanasi) Jan 23, 2020 10:54pm
Shah was fantastic in Ishqiaa.
HashBrown® Jan 23, 2020 11:30pm
@Salman "I grew up being patriotic. Thankfully I saw the evil side of it eventually and gave it up." Couldn't agree more, brother. I've reached a very similar conclusion. The irony is that when you give up patriotism and replace it with love and kindness for your people, you'll often find yourself bitterly opposed by others who claim to be "patriotic".
HashBrown® Jan 23, 2020 11:34pm
Two clowns shaking their fists at each other. Kher is just another angry Hindustani bigot, and Shah is a sell-out Muslim, who has quite happily buried his head in the sand throughout the countless historic episodes of horrific violence that his country has inflicted on other Muslims less privileged than him. Two complete nobodies - I'm happy that they're on that side of the border, where they can stay.
Random Indian Jan 23, 2020 11:58pm
Naseeruddin Shah is a class act. Even if I didn't agree with him on something, I would take what he says very seriously because his is always a considered view.
riz1 Jan 24, 2020 02:22am
@Tariq "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel - Samuel Johnson" “Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it” ― Mark Twain" “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people” ― Howard Zinn We can decide ourselves which nation deserves those quotes more.
ravi Jan 24, 2020 04:11am
We just listen to Mr Shah and ignore.
KK Jan 24, 2020 04:49am
i have nothing to say.
Ak sharma Jan 24, 2020 06:01am
@Samuel Johnson did not said,patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel but politics is the last refuge.......
Bipul Jan 24, 2020 07:39am
PTI is obsessed with own people and BJP is obsessed with Pakistan. Great observation from Mr Shah.
Mohan Jan 24, 2020 07:51am
@Imran c How so? Can you explain
Tariq Jan 24, 2020 10:17am
Its Mr. Shah Country and he may feel free to speaks or says anything and we only which them good luck in their honest opinion.
Bilal Jan 24, 2020 07:07pm
You are not suppose to tell the truth in a fascist regime.
deccan.hyderabadi Jan 24, 2020 08:41pm
"The current government is obsessed with Pakistan". Absolutely spot on. I don't remember such obsession during the congress times. I don't remember Indian army chiefs talking of adventurism a decade ago. Absolutely sad...
haris Jan 24, 2020 09:35pm
@riz1 : "Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it” ― Mark Twain" In this wordings, Shah seems totally loyal to the country as he is questioning the Govt. directly and not the people or the country, where as Kher's support of Modi sarkar is proved otherwise.
Amant Ali Jan 25, 2020 02:24am
What is CAB? Please explain the act . Thanks