Open Letter to the Fan Who Wrote an Open Letter to Aamir Khan

An open letter in response to the open letter written by a fan to Aamir Khan following his controversial comments.

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Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan. (Photo: Reuters)

Following the open letter written by Shefali Vaidya, an Aamir Khan fan, on his comments about the growing intolerance in India, Prerna Pratham Singh, the girl who exposed her Facebook harasser to social media scrutiny in May of this year, wrote an open letter addressing the same issue from a different perspective.

The Quint published an article about the recent controversy regarding Aamir Khan and his comments. The letter was...

Posted by Prerna Pratham Singh on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Quint published an article about the recent controversy regarding Aamir Khan and his comments. The letter was something which piqued my interest and I read it. Only to be disappointed. I am not an admirer of the ‘Open Letter’ format, but this demanded a reply in the similar fashion.

Dear Person Who Wrote an Open Letter to Aamir Khan!

I cannot begin to enlist all the fault lines that occur in your open letter to Amir Khan since he came under fire for his ‘remarks’ about leaving the country.

Artistically speaking, I do have differences with the way Aamir chooses to make his movies or the way he gives remarks about certain things which garner public attention (for example, his criticism of AIB Knockout), but NOT THIS TIME.

People, and you have very slyly made remarks about how he is a Muslim and it has been his luck and our sheer generosity that we have watched his films and made him the superstar he is. I am flabbergasted at the sheer ignorance of the way you have chosen to blast him and his stardom, albeit unsuccessfully.

No, I am not an Aamir fan, nor I am an ‘avid movie-goer’ as you have mentioned. But your ‘open letter’ did fall short of convincing me of its intentions (which might be very well-placed, to be honest. Point noted). Why? Here are the reasons.

  • You lose it in the very first paragraph when you say that the majority of his audience is ‘Hindu’. This makes me doubt if you bothered to listen to his entire remark or read the transcription at least. From your letter, it seems that you didn’t. Because if you had actually paid attention to what he had said, you would NOT have joined the bandwagon of click baiting and mass-lynching.
  • An audience is just an audience, they seek entertainment. Which he provides. It is simple demand and supply’s rule of basic economics. You want to watch films, he makes the kinds you want to spend your money on. Transaction complete. What is the fuss about it and why do you need to bring religion into it when there was NOTHING about religion in his statement. I sincerely do not understand.
  • You have mentioned all the roles that he has done and how popular they became amongst the audience. Right! But what this piece fails to address is that what Aamir said was something as a citizen of this country. He addressed a genuine concern many of us have despite not belonging to his ‘religion’. Tell me that your Mom has not told you to be aware when you go out because ‘Zamana kharaab hai Beta, kab kya ho jaaye pata nahi’. Tell me you have not felt insecure when you’re coming back home late at night and your phone gets switched off. Tell me for once you have not heard people say ‘ Desh ki haalat naazuk hai. Kabhi kabhi to dil karta hai sab chhod kar nikal lein.’ But do they leave? Do you stop going out? Is your Mom’s concern unjustified? Is your sense of protecting yourself uncalled for?
  • Things are bad, we know. They have been since ever. But we are living in these times. Sikhs faced 1984 and they became stronger. Parsis faced discrimination all over and found a refuge in India. India faced 1962, 1965 and 1999. It flourished. But does that mean that voicing your concern is heinous crime? Please enlighten me.
  • I like the way how you completely overlooked the fact that Aamir mentioned that Kiran Rao, his second wife talked about the safety concern and it took him by surprise. But wasn’t it just another remark that many of us often make when we are really worried about our surroundings?
  • Refer to the last para if you will. I know many people who are NRIs and they come here only to complain about how bad things are. Now that takes me by surprise. Not this. Also, I liked the way you concocted everything else and made it a tinted drink of religious overtones, with a twist of emotional pleas to bring some spice to it. Nice move!
  • Also you mentioned Dilip Kumar and Madhubala who had to change their names to be accepted in the mainstream ‘Hindu’ audience. And since Aamir did not have to do any of it, it is his obligation to feel grateful towards us. At least that is what your statement tried to convey.
  • But Madam, do you know that in the initial period of Hindi cinema, men had to disguise themselves as women because women were not accepted in the inner circles? And do you think that if later on it became easy and coveted for them to be a part of the cinema industry they should be grateful?
  • The fact that people of different castes, religion and creed are getting accepted for their contribution is a sign of a developing society. Where does tolerance come in picture? Hard to decipher for a simpleton like me.
  • It is interesting that you would mention all the incidents which happened involving the minority community and question him about his intolerance and the like. Again, which had NOTHING to do with what he said. Highlighting the general state of affairs is always going to boil down to the religious aspects, I guess. We are just going to make peace with that, aye?
  • If you WERE intolerant, you would not suggest them to move somewhere. You would straightaway get them the tickets or kill them. I get your point. But do you understand that by saying this you are proving the whole debate to be one-sided? I guess you don’t. But that’s okay. We learn gradually.
  • It is indeed your call to boycott the products he endorses, or the causes he promotes. Do whatever you please, it is a free country. Write about what enrages you, write about intolerance. Keep writing. That is the only way to let people realize we have to go a long way before we actually become sensible to the undercurrents of polity and society which media sometimes (well, most of the times) pushes out of public purview.
  • I hope you look into this and let people understand that quick reactions do not go a long way. Informed opinions would always stand ahead of click baits. What we need is a way to figure out how to respond, and not react. And as one of my most favourite quotes goes: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire. Regards, A fellow Indian Citizen who equally loves her country and its people. Despite all the differences.

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