KARACHI: Indian actor Aamir Khan’s latest project is Laal Singh Chadda, which is said to be a remake of Tom Hank’s Forrest Gump. Initially scheduled for release on Christmas 2020, the film has seen delays due to the pandemic. However, shooting for the movie has resumed and required Khan to be in Turkey for the same reason. During his visit, Khan met with first lady Emine Erdogan at the presidential residence in Istanbul, and received a rather unexpected reaction from his followers.
While Khan and the lady spoke about social projects that each have been carrying out in their own capacities, the public has seen Khan’s actions as an act of betrayal. Indian nationalists have gone as far as calling Khan ‘anti-India’ and ‘putting his religion before his nation’ by meeting with the ‘enemy’ of India.
The sentiments seem to have risen in opposition to Turkey’s fairly recent pro-Pakistan stance. More importantly, Turkey has been critical of the scrapping of Article 370 in Kashmir. Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, has also promised to show support for Pakistan.
Khan has also been criticized for acting as a nationalist on screen but going against his stance in real life. Khan, being a Muslim by birth, is also being seen as making allies with Muslim countries instead of standing with India. People are also angry about Khan’s refusal to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister earlier, a country that India has a positive relationship with.
A few others, however, have spoken in favour of the actor, pointing out that it is no anomaly for an actor to meet with a head of state.
Ironically, Aamir Khan’s meeting with the first lady coincided with India’s Independence Day, 15th August. On a day when the spirit of patriotism and nationalism are already so high, Khan’s actions definitely did not sit well with Indians. Many want to boycott his film. However, Laal Singh Chadda is more than a year away from its release, a time by which the followers may have moved on, specially if the film is a masterpiece like many of Khan’s previous productions.