Mumbai: After his ‘kick-ass performance’ in Pakistan recently, five National Awards winner poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar has suddenly become the new hero of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and others, including those nursing a grudge against him for long.
Attending the famed two-day Faiz Festival in Lahore, the Mumbai celeb known for his loose-fitting colourful kurta-pyjama-chappals and the occasional tints, delivered a gentle ‘kick’ to Pak on the home-turf – which hit hard.
During a question-answer session at the fest, Akhtar was posed an innocuous query on how to change India’s perception of Pakistan – and the 78-year-old guest jumped to score a goal in the hearts of Indians – much to the chagrin of his hosts.
Urging for cooperation between the two nations, he said it would help the entire region prosper and named other regions in the world that have progressed with partnerships.
“But we in Mumbai have seen the attacks (of 26/11, 2008). Those attackers didn’t come from Norway or they didn’t land from Egypt… They are still roaming freely in your country,” Akhtar said to a loud round of claps and cheers from the audience.
Shiv Sena (UT) MP and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that for making a statement like Akhtar did, needs “guts” and he deserves to be appreciated by all political parties and leaders.
“He showed them their place in their own land… Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah had made tall claims after the surgical strike (September 2016) as if Pakistan was wiped off the world map. They should commend Akhtar for his statements,” Raut said.
Political commentator and former Director of Operations in the PMO Sudheendra Kulkarni lauded Akhtar’s remarks and fully stood by the poet – who is now being targetted in Pakistan.
“I fully support him for speaking the truth about Pakistan to the Pakistanis on their soil… Now, it’s upto Pakistan to introspect on it,” Kulkarni declared.
Shiv Sena (UBT) National Spokesperson Kishore Tiwari hailed Akhtar for his courageous words and said he had “thrown the reality on the faces of Pakistanis in their own land”.
“We Indians have always welcomed Pakistan artistes, cricketers and celebs, but the same is rarely reciprocated. Akhtar’s comments are like a slap in the face for those in India who have been questioning his patriotic credentials and they should now apologise to him,” demanded Tiwari.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)’s National Spokesperson Clyde Crasto said Akhtar’s observations indicate a positive trend that artists are standing up boldly for the country.
“Poets are taking a bold stand while politicians and those in the government, whose duty it is to take a firm stance, are being diplomatic,” said Crasto.
Congress state General Secretary Sachin Sawant took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) without taking names, saying that “his (Akhtar’s) courage to show the mirror to Pakistan on its soil is a valorous move and not just cutting a cake”.
A prominent India-Pakistan peace activist Jatin Desai said Akhtar has the courage to call a spade by its name as he comes from a family of freedom fighters.
“Through his statement, he made it clear that people of both nations crave for peace and communal amity. We need to differentiate between the ordinary Pakistani, the establishment and the Pakistan state. People there are tired of rising militancy and religious extremism. That they want to live in peace was amply clear by the applause to Akhtar’s remarks,” Desai pointed out.
Even Bollywood heroine Kangana Ranaut paused to say: “Ghar me ghuss ke mara.. Ha ha.” (He barged into their home and hammered them, Ha Ha)”.
Ranaut, herself a National Award winner actress, then extolled Akhtar’s poetry, comparing them with the blessings of Goddess Saraswati, his sincerity and how the divine forces are with him.
For good measure Akhtar added how Indians have always hosted huge functions of Pakistani artistes like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Mehndi Hassan, “but there was no concert of (the late) Lata Mangeshkar in Pakistan”.
“Hence, if we harbour this grouse against your country, you should not feel offended. But there’s no point blaming each other now,” he added gently.
Nevertheless, after his public utterances, the much-honoured guest has suddenly become a hounded ghoul in Pakistan with many celebs slamming Akhtar and even blaming the organisers for inviting him there.
Comments are closed.