At a press conference held for his birthday, Shah Rukh Khan was asked about his thoughts on the situation in our country right now, the “Award Wapsi” movement, and the growing intolerance when it comes to religion. While most people tend to avoid speaking too much about this topic, SRK opened up – though he did acknowledge that he usually prefers to remain mum since it’s sometimes turned into a controversy. Here’s what he had to say:
Creativity is very secular. There is no dharam, caste, region, religion in creativity. The person who sings well, sings well and you love their voice. I say this all the time – the art is much more important than the artist. Where they came from, why they came, where they went, etc… none of that matters. We love the art. Maybe we love the artist less, and we should.
He further went on to say:
Creativity has no religion. When we start questioning creativity or creative people, we are doing the most disservice to the nation. My only take is this: whenever there is something like this, even if there is tension between two people or two countries, the one thing that can actually bring us together is creative fumes. We listen to English songs, Chinese songs, French songs, Hindu songs, Christian songs, Muslim songs – we don’t care about anything. If we like it, we like it. The one thing I truly believe is that if there is intolerance to creativity and if there is intolerance in a country because of religion, we are taking away every forward step a nation has taken.
He received much applause from the audience for this statement and was then prodded about the Award Wapsi movement and whether he’d return his. This is what he said:
Nobody can ask me to give away anything that I don’t want to give. But symbolically, whenever someone has done that, I think they have not only been brave but they’ve been magnanimous. They’re making a comment very clearly, that listen – ‘I don’t believe creativity can be subjugated for any reason.’ But having said that, and fully respecting them – I think it’s a great gesture – as far as I’m concerned, if I’m called upon to talk about freedom of creativity in context of what is happening, I would rather take a stand and talk about it, or go for a meeting if we all have to be together [rather than return an award]. I think that’s a right thing to do. I don’t think symbolically I’m going to [return an award]. Not that I’m questioning [those who have]. And the beauty of tolerance in the film industry is that people like Anupamji, Dibakar, Madhur Bhandarkar can talk and discuss and give their point of view. Tolerance in a country means giving your point of view. And in the film industry or any creative field, there is an opportunity to discuss. It’s not just about being against or with someone. So symbolically, it’s fantastic. My only prayer is that what they have started symbolically leads to some change or solution. As far as you’re asking me, I’m all for freedom of creativity. But about returning awards? I don’t even have a National award; first give one to me and then ask me to return it!
What are your thoughts on the matter?