Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in middle of neighbourhood spat over his religion

Published: February 1, 2013

VANCOUVER DESI

Shah Rukh Khan TOIFA

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan gestures as he holds a trophy during a function to announce the new Times of India Film Awards in Mumbai, India on Jan. 29, 2013. Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

Bollywood heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan, who will lead a bevy of Indian stars at the Times of India Film Awards event in Vancouver, is in the middle of a neighbourhood spat between India and Pakistan.

And Khan is attempting to put an end to the controversy.

Khan, in an interview to Outlook Turning Points magazine, which is published in association with the New York Times, had talked about being a Muslim in India, following which Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed said the actor was welcome to stay in Pakistan if he felt “insecure” in India.

Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik added that India should provide security to the actor, prompting a rebuke from Indian home secretary RK Singh: “We are quite capable of looking after the security of our own citizens … let him (Malik) worry about the security of his own,” Singh said.

India’s political class joined Singh in slamming Malik. Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said there was no need for Malik to “meddle in our internal affairs.”

The annoyed actor said in a statement: “Being an Indian is an unconditional accepted truth of my life . . . I do not even understand the basis of this controversy… Nowhere does the article state or imply that I feel unsafe, troubled or disturbed in India … I would like to tell all those who are offering me unsolicited advice that we in India are extremely safe and happy.

“Ironically the article I wrote (yes, it’s written by me) was actually meant to reiterate that on some occasions, my being an Indian Muslim film star is misused by bigots and narrow minded people who have misplaced religious ideologies for small gains … and ironically, the same has happened through this article … once again.

“The reason for this primarily is … I think some of the people have not even read it and are reacting to comments of people, who in turn have also not read it. So I implore you all to first read it.”

Khan, also known by nicknames King Khan and SRK, launched the Times of India Film Awards in India recently, following an announcement of the awards in Canada that included Chitrangada Singh, and called himself very fortunate to be a part of the ceremony.

“I feel very fortunate to be here. It is a fantastic platform. It gives me immense pleasure to be a part of it,” he told the media at a press conference in Mumbai.

The awards will be held from April 4-6 in Vancouver, Canada and will be hosted by Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma.

Talking about the award ceremony, Shah Rukh said it stands for class, goodness and honesty.

“There are so many award functions today but TOIFA stands for goodness, honesty and class. These will help us respect and understand awards,” he said.

Ace choreographer Shiamak Davar is also a part of the project. He and Shah Rukh will be making plans soon for the ceremony.

– With files from IANS and wires

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