The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Filmland stands up for Aamir

Mumbai, May 29: Bollywood today staged a collective show of defiance rarely seen off-screen, standing up for Aamir Khan and threatening “action” if Fanaa was not allowed to be screened in Gujarat.

A host of film industry veterans gathered at a media conference to openly express solidarity with Aamir, whose film has been barred by theatre-owners in Gujarat because he has said priority should be given to rehabilitate those displaced by the Narmada dam.

The film fraternity who supported Aamir included actors Anil Kapoor and Anupam Kher, filmmakers Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai and Ramesh Sippy and directors Kunal Kohli and Ashutosh Gowarikar.

Chopra and Kohli do have a stake in the issue as they are Fanaa’s producer and director but this is the first time so many industry personalities have taken a vocal public stand that runs counter to that of a mainstream political party.

Though theatre-owners in Gujarat had announced the ban, many believe they could not have done so without the blessings of the state government, headed by the BJP. The party has denied any hand in the ban but it has asked Aamir to apologise.

The film personalities said unless the film is screened in Gujarat in a week, action would be taken. But the nature of such action was not specified.

“One just cannot stop a film. Whatever Aamir has said are his personal views. He’s supported a cause and not said anything that has hurt the sentiments of the people of Gujarat,” Anil said.

Chopra said he was losing Rs 1 crore a day because of the Gujarat blackout. The filmmaker said the movie was pulled from theatres despite a personal assurance by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi that it could be screened.

Anupam, who was named censor board chief when the BJP was in power, said: “It is not a political issue, it is an emotional issue. I think things have been stretched too far. But whatever it is, the entire industry is supporting Aamir.”

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