Dear Mr Kashyap, My name is Raj, and I am not a religious fundamentalist

2006-07: “Whom should we call for a talk in our first management fest?”, Akshay was lazily discussing this with his management fest team outside a chai gumti (kiosk). Sumit — a small, dark and skinny senior who was famous and infamous for absurd theater in college — was standing close to these guys and hogging bun-makkan with me and some other theater guys. He heard Akshay and his team talking about requirement of guest speakers. He came close to Akshay and said, “Why don’t you call Anurag Kashyap? I can request him to come here.” This was the first time I heard of Anurag Kashyap.

In the final years of my college days we had a lot of discussions about Anurag Kashyap. We spent time discussing movement of cameras in Black Friday, we spent time discussing how Satya written by Saurabh Shukla and Anurag Kashyap tried to create a character like Howard Roark with no past. I even remember how zealously my theatre buddies tried to fathom the movie “No Smoking” using the frameworks of “The Interpretation of Dreams”. A year after my graduation, Sumit called me one day and asked, “Did you watch Dev D?” my instant reply was, “Of course”. I used to be a big Kashyap fan, but now I am not. I don’t see him with the same respect which I had for him for the last many years.

Just few days back, when Hollywood veteran Meryl Streep attacked Trump from the podium of Golden Globes, it was lauded as an act of bravery. Many from Bollywood wrote that the film-industry in India lacks a similar kind of courage. Kashyap too wrote that the film-fraternity doesn’t show spine to stand for people who speak-up.

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After May 2014, we have been seeing this quite frequently. Krantikaari (revolutionary) artists of Bollywood have used multiple forums to mention that they are curtailed from speaking; it sometimes becomes a paradox when these krantikaaris use multiple forums to write and speak that they are not allowed to write and speak. Without going into this delicious irony, let us come to the main issue at hand. Yesterday, the Kashmiri actor Zaira Wasim, who played a role in Dangal, was attacked and abused by religious fanatics. Zaira Wasim had to face the attacks because she worked with Bollywood, so I expected Bollywood to show some courage this time. I was saddened to see the grave silence of our Krantikaari artists and so I appealed (without abusing or harassing) to them to stand for Zaira.

Instead of supporting Zaira, Anurag Kashyap chose to spit on me. He compared me to those radicals who harassed Zaira. I have seen media and political figures drawing false equivalences to attack people, but I expected Kashyap to engage in a more fair manner. I anticipated him to show courage which he seeks from Bollywood. I didn’t imagine that Kashyap will disappoint me to this extent.

Dear Kashyap, I don’t carry guns to scare people, I don’t scare people by reminding them of religion, I don’t abuse small girls by calling them sluts.  Go through some of these comments written against Zaira and let me know how you drew that equivalence.

Dear Kashyap, unlike you, I don’t hide under the veil of neutrality; unlike you, I don’t pretend to have no political side; unlike you, I don’t play victim-card to win my arguments.

As far as troll army is concerned, let me share a personal experience. Only few days back, I was severely bullied by AAP and Congress handles. A third grade journalist (whom you follow) raised allegations of harassment and stalking against me, and I was harassed for a week. My employer received more than 20,000 tweets and many harsh mails against me. I didn’t cry victim because I knew that if I dare to speak against people, I should also have courage to face them. You also seem to be worried about Modi following me.

This was really very childish Anurag, very, very childish. Why should a PM not have the freedom to choose like you can have? Does my freedom to question you make me a criminal? Does my freedom to have a political opinion make me a sinner? Does the support extended to me make me a scoundrel? This may be irrelevant, but I have sweated in fierce sun and shivered in cold nights to enter a good college, I have burnt midnight oil to represent my college in theatre and sports, I have not slept many nights so that I can excel in my job as well as pursue my hobby of writing. Does that make me less qualified to be followed by the PM?

A friend of mine used to say that, deep inside, Anurag Kashyap has a male, macho ego which is why he keeps protagonists like Ransa in his movies. Your silly, sissy, replies and responses have proved him wrong.

I was stupid to believe in you, not any more..


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