Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan spoke on the topic of social media toxicity and cancellation culture on Thursday, calling for “positivity,” in comments that are taking on significance amid protests against his upcoming film “Pathaan.”
“The collective narrative of our time is shaped by social media. Contrary to the belief that social media will negatively affect cinema, I believe that cinema now has an even more important role to play,” he said at the opening of the 28th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF).
“Social media is often driven by a certain narrow-mindedness that limits human nature to its lower self. I read somewhere that negativity increases the consumption of social media and therefore increases its commercial value. Such pursuits enclose the collective narrative, making it divisive and destructive,” Mr Khan said.
“We haven’t been able to meet in a while, but the world is getting normal now. We’re all happy and I’m the happiest. And I have no qualms about saying that no matter what the world is doing, me and you, and all the positive people in the world are ALIVE,” he added.
The comments come amid attacks on his next release ‘Pathaan’ by right-wing social media users backed by some leaders of the BJP, which rules at the center – in the second vicious campaign against a Muslim film star after Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh ‘. Chaddha’ earlier this year.
Among those who have targeted the film is Madhya Pradesh Home Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra of the BJP, who claimed that one of the songs in the film showed a “tainted mentality” and threatened to suspend its release in the state. to block.
At the center of the ‘Pathaan’ controversy is a claim that in the song ‘Besharam Rang’ (Shameless Color), actor Deepika Padukone wears an orange outfit which, detractors say, resembles the saffron feared in Hinduism and the main color of the BJP.
Campaigns based on such flimsy apologies against Mr Khan and his colleagues who are not seen as unashamed supporters of the ruling party have grown in recent years and threaten the country’s huge film industry.