Odia scholar calls B-Towners clicking selfie with Modi ‘a bunch of cowards’

Bhubaneswar: Odisha-born academician Professor Ashok Swain, who is known for speaking his mind over a range of sensitive issues, has termed the Bollywood actors posing for a group selfie with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “a bunch of cowards”.

Swain, a Professor at the Uppsala University’s Department of Peace and Conflict Research in Sweden, said most of the big stars in the Hindi film industry are now ready to line up to meet Modi – apparently for no reason at all but to enjoy a fan moment instead of highlighting important issues which are currently plaguing our society.

Referring how most of the actors and filmmakers in Hollywood are openly criticizing US President Donlad Trump and his policies at various public platforms and award ceremonies, the noted Odia academician justified: “Why Hollywood is Hollywood, and Bollywood is Bollywood?”

Speaking to Odisha Sun Times on why he termed these Bolly actors are ‘cowards’, Swain explained: “In Hollywood, most of the actors, producers and artists have been for a long stood up for the liberal value. They have been opposing Trump almost everyday. But, unfortunately, in Bollywood, actors, producers and directors have been extremely submissive in the criticism of the present fundamentalist and intolerant regime.”

He also said that barring a few like Prakash Raj, Naseeruddin Shah and Swara Bhaskar, the big names including Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, among others who can make a big difference are now joining the fan club (of Modi Govt). “The three Khans (Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir) are silent spectators.”

When asked what he thinks about Karan Johar saying they discussed issues such as “nation building” and “transformative India” with Modi, the Uppsala University Professor has come up with a hard one-liner for the Bollywood producer and TV Presenter: “Karan Johar is a verbose without substance”.

“He (Karan Johar) should have made it clear what is that transformative India for which there is a huge interest for nation building. He very well knows Modi is transforming India into a majoritarian country without basic human rights and democratic value and glorifying pseudo-science,” Swain observed.

A delegation of Bollywood actors and filmmakers like Karan Johar, Rohit Shetty and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari met Modi here on Thursday to discuss how the entertainment industry can contribute to nation building.

Karan, who was a part of past industry meetings with the PM, led the delegation which included names like Ekta Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Sidharth Malhotra, Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao, Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi Pednekar.

Notably, Swain, who hails from Puri in Odisha, has been a fierce critic of Hindutva organizations and their leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He writes and speaks on several national and international issues affecting the common man.

In June last year, he was named UNESCO Chair on International Water Cooperation (IWC).

Swain is quite active on his Twitter account with 27,500 followers till date.

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