In a recent interview with The Wire journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani, actor Manoj Bajpayee shut down the former when she tried to put words in his mouth, peddle her agenda and stir controversy. When Arfa insinuated whether or not India would remain a democratic country in the future, Bajpayee said, “I am not an expert. But, I believe that nothing will happen to the democracy of India. I am hopeful. I don’t know why people are afraid.”
While the journalist was expecting the actor to make a positive affirmation to her beliefs and opinions, Bajpayee chose to do otherwise. “There is an election every 4-5 years in the country. Whoever is afraid (that democracy will cease to exist) can contest elections against the government.” In the hopes that the actor would say something of her liking, Arfa pestered, “Javed Jaffri told me in an interview that actors steer clear of politics and those with opinions do not get work in Bollywood. Is this true?” Bajpayee replied, “I don’t think so.”
Displaying a clear disdain for the movie ‘Padmavat’, Arfa inquired whether movies in Bollywood are created with a sinister purpose to defame a ‘particular community.’ The actor stated, “I watched Padmavat and felt that we are necessarily stoking a controversy. Take the example of the movie, Mughal-e-Azam. Is there anything historically true about the movie? No, it wasn’t. When I watched the film, I had no problem.”
Recounting his experience of watching the movie ‘Uri’, based on India’s surgical strike against Pakistan, Manoj Bajpayee conceded that he got emotional watching the last rites of the character who played brother in law of actor Vicky Kaushal in the movie. “I was so engrossed in the film that I had tears. I even called Vicky and appreciated the film.” Interestingly, the same news portal mocked the film Uri as filled with ‘toxic, hyper-nationalism.’
Arfa Khanum Sherwani and art of fearmongering
The Wire journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani has been regularly indulging in fear mongering, especially claiming that the democracy as we know it in India is dead and we are heading towards what she likes to call ‘Nazi Germany‘. During the anti-CAA protests, where scores of Islamists and ‘liberals’ protested against granting Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from three neighbouring Islamic countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, Arfa was found suggesting protesting Muslims to adopt more of an ‘inclusive strategy’ and avoid using their Muslim identity so that they could garner more support. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, she was also found defending the Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim evangelical event which emerged as the initial hotspots for coronavirus outbreak in India.