- Bachchan, who is named in both the Panama and Paradise papers, (off shore investments to avoid taxes) seems to have gone from the angry young man, which he played in many blockbusters, to pliable senior citizen acting in concert with the Narendra Modi government.
- Akshay Kumar, 52, who has taken Canadian citizenship, seems to be following in Bachchan’s footsteps.
HAM - “an unskilled actor who overacts”.
The sudden interest in and advocacy of the Mumbai metro by actors referred to as “heroes” in Bollywood, including Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar, is not a coincidence. It has come about when the Aarey forest -- Mumbai’s lung -- is under threat as the BJP and Shiv Sena government want to cut trees and make a metro shed and station project.
Bachchan, who is named in both the Panama and Paradise papers, (off shore investments to avoid taxes) seems to have gone from the angry young man, which he played in many blockbusters, to pliable senior citizen acting in concert with the Narendra Modi government.
Bachchan had opposed the metro project in 2010 citing privacy concerns. Now in an incredible 180 degree turn, he has tweeted in support citing a “friend”. Bachchan fronts many of the Modi government’s flagship programmes and is the face of several heavily promoted schemes.
His name cropping up in the tax haven scandal does not appear to have made the Modi government drop him from any scheme or attracted the notice of the Income Tax Department. Says a senior Opposition politician from Maharashtra: “What is a tweet when it comes to ensuring the income tax department is kept away.”
Bachchan is an incredibly agile actor. He has gone from being a Congress Member of Parliament and friend of the Gandhi family, to being equally cosy with Modi.
Kumar, 52, who has taken Canadian citizenship, seems to be following in Bachchan’s footsteps. “Khiladi (player) Kumar” as he is called after his most well-known role, got off his luxury vehicle and took a ride in the metro - and live tweeted the experience.
Kumar had done the incredibly inane Modi interview before the elections and tried to project a kinder gentler Modi. Kumar’s questions included asking Modi how he ate mangoes. The “aam admi” association you see.
Despite the fact that he is a Canadian national, Kumar has made some “nationalist films” which in an incredible coincidence seem to mirror the Modi government schemes such as “Toilet Ek Prem Katha”.
Kumar is one of the richest actors in the world and is married to the woke liberal author Twinkle Khanna, the daughter of Rajesh Khanna. The Kumar family seems to cover all bases at home with Khanna retweeting Aditya Thackeray’s tweet in support of the Aarey forests.
Occasionally reality intrudes in the perfect image created by Khanna such as her tweeting a picture of a man defecating in public to promote the aforementioned “Toilet Ek Prem Katha”. The cruel invasion of privacy by Khanna saw her merely shrugging her shoulders.
Contrast these actors with Hollywood celebrities such as Leonardo Caprio, who has announced a fund of five million dollars to save the Amazon forests. Bollywood actors happily promote cancer causing “gutka” (tobacco) and fairness creams. Unlike legends such as Meryl Streep, Debra Messing, Snoop Dog and Alec Baldwin who have taken a public position against US President Donald Trump, Bollywood actors prefer to remain mum.
Superstar Aamir Khan was attacked by the BJP when he quoted wife Kiran Rao saying that she had concerns about raising her child in “intolerant India”. The attack ensured that most Bollywood actors capitulated.
Even on the Aarey issue, actors Manoj Bajpayee and John Abraham and Dia Mirza have bravely spoken out in support of the environment. But they are lonely voices. Most of Bollywood, including Kangana Ranaut, are happy to take selfies with Modi. Living in a bubble is a true privilege in India.