Subhash K Jha opines in his expert comment column on IWMBuzz.com about why Amitabh Bachchan is not being spared and is questioned for his silence. 

Amitabh Bachchan gets trolled for not speaking up, but why should he?

Picture this. Rajinikanth and Anil Kapoor are out on the public domain to promote their latest films. Rajinikanth is asked about the CAA  bill. He rightly deflects the question. Why are  Indian celebrities expected to speak up on political issues? They have a right to remain silent, right?

Why is that right being snatched away from them?  Lately, there has been a lot happening in the country that is not right or even remotely acceptable as civilized behaviour. Some, not too many,  Bollywood celebrities have come out in support of the student agitation at JNU and against the Citizens Amendment Act. And more power to them.

But why troll and heckle (aren’t they the one and the same in today’s age?) those who choose a discreet silence. If Amitabh  Bachchan is not speaking is he being spineless?  The burden of telling the truth in political matters is heavy. A protest is not the prerogative of those in the limelight, but those in power. One wrong line, and you sailing through choppy waters.  It has happened to  Aamir Khan when he happened to blurt out that his children are unsafe in India.

Be honest. Which parent has not had similar thoughts? This is a country where 6-month old babies get raped. And if I say I feel frightened for my child’s wellbeing I am not being anti-national. I am being realistic. Why can’t Aamir and Shah Rukh worry about their children while Salman Khan throws his all into Dabangg 6?

This is a luxury Mr Bachchan cannot afford. In this country the higher you go the less your liberty to speak your mind. Think of the number of ways any political statement, either way, right or left, can damage him. 30 years back, Shabana Azmi spoke out against the murder of theatre activist Safdar Hazmi at a film festival in Delhi. There was no backlash and no one called her anti-national.

If she were to do the same today, the ramifications could be hugely damaging, considering she is over 70 now. Mr Bachchan is 77 and in frail health. Acts of political bravado would serve no purpose except to get the Twitter users all worked up with joy. Too many celebrities are living their lives as per the definitions and dictates on Twitter.

Please spare Mr  Bachchan the righteous indignation of a generation that acts according to how good their pictures would look on Instagram. Don’t expect him to criticize the government. There is an inbuilt responsibility to his image that comes with being Amitabh Bachchan. Don’t misconstrue his silence. Not being able to speak against oppression is not always an indication of acquiescence.

For those celebrities who want to make some noise on social media, best wishes to your aspirations in life. Not  everyone’s image and aspirations is dictated by how far you can go on social media without facing a jail sentence. Some celebrities have to exercise more restraint than Anurag Kashyap. They have more to lose.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and not necessarily those of IWMBuzz. IWMBuzz does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of the information provided herein

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