Naseeruddin Shah, in a recent interview with The Wire, discussed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and how a major chunk of Bollywood celebrities have mostly maintained silence on the issue. The actor praised Deepika Padukone, who had joined protesting students at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who were injured in violence inside the varsity campus on 5 January.
Padukone left the campus without saying anything, however, she was photographed meeting JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh, who was injured in the violent attack by a masked mob.
"You have to laud the courage of a girl like Deepika who is in the top and yet takes a step like this. Let us see how she takes this. She'll lose a few endorsements, sure. Will that impoverish her? Will that lessen her popularity? Will that make her less beautiful that she is? They're going to come around sooner or later. The only god that the film industry worships is money. Their silence is not as important as the vociferousness of the younger generation," said Shah.
He said that it was understandable why so many mainstream celebrities were reluctant to comment on the issue. Shah said that they feared losing out on their popularity, which will in turn affect their business. "The star is mainly concerned with themselves and not other people around, otherwise there would be more parity," he said.
He also criticised Anupam Kher for his crytpic tweets addressing the violence during anti-CAA protests. The actor called Kher "a clown", who should "not be taken seriously."
Shah was last seen in Vivek Agnihotri's directorial Tashkent Files, based on the mysterious death of India's second prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in Tashkent (formerly a part of USSR, now in Uzbekistan) in 1966. Mithun Chakraborty, Shweta Basu, Pankaj Tripathi, Vinay Pathak, Mandira Bedi, Pallavi Joshi, Ankur Rathee and Prakash Belawadi were also part of the cast.
Watch the full interview here