Gurpreet Singh: Hindu Right’s doublespeak exposed by its criticism of Kareena Kapoor Khan for accepting role of Sita

Obviously, the Bollywood diva doesn’t suit them and won’t ever be their poster girl like Kangana Ranaut

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      Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor Khan is now being trolled for accepting the role of Sita, the wife of Lord Ram, a revered Hindu god.

      According to media reports, she has asked for Rs 12 crore (about $2 million in Canadian currency) for playing as Sita in Alaukik Desai’s upcoming film. Following which, Kapoor Khan is being attacked on Twitter by the Hindu Right. The trolls are not only upset at the amount, but also because of her family background, which only reveals their sectarian mindset.

      She was born a Hindu but married a Muslim actor, Saif Ali Khan.

      This is not the first time that the diva has enraged supporters of the ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP government in New Delhi.

      The trolls are advocating for the role to be assigned to another Bollywood actress, Kanagana Ranaut, a well-known apologist of the BJP government and its anti-minority agenda.

      If this is not enough, some are trying to contrast Kapoor Khan with Dipika Chikhlia, who played as Sita in the 1987 TV serial based on Ramayan, the story of Lord Ram. Many of them have been cunningly posting selected pictures of Chikhlia as Sita to portray her as a pious woman as compared to Kapoor Khan, whose stills from films showing her smoking cigarettes are being used to ridicule her. By doing so, they have conveniently glossed over the semi-nude roles played by Chikhlia.

      This shouldn’t surprise anyone as Chikhlia later became a BJP MP.

      Obviously, Kapoor Khan doesn’t suit them and won’t ever be their poster girl like Ranaut. Notably, Ranaut too has played provocative roles, but since she is a devout Hindu and enjoys the blessings of the BJP, these trolls won’t question her.

      The renewed onslaught against Kapoor Khan is a part of the same pattern we have been seeing for the past several years. And it has to do with Islamophobia, which has only grown under the BJP government.

      She has been hounded since 2012 for marrying a Muslim man and adopting Khan as her last name. At the time, her father had received a threatening letter as Hindu fanatics were accusing her husband of luring her and converting her to Islam. 

      Later, she came under fierce attack for naming her son as Taimur, which means iron. This was because the Hindu Right associates it with the name of a Muslim tyrant whom many claimed had tormented Hindus. This was despite the fact that Khans chose the name for its strong masculine appeal.

      Then she stood up for an eight-year-old Muslim girl, Asifa Bano, who was raped and murdered by Hindu fanatics in 2018. This incidend happened in Kathua and was planned and executed to terrorize local Muslims and force them to flee. She took to Twitter to express her outrage. BJP supporters who came to the defence of the perpetrators began mudslinging her.

      Amid the fresh controversy, they are again bringing up her marriage to a Muslim and naming her son Taimur to instigate religious sentiments.

      One can connect all these dots together to understand the real trigger behind such a trivial issue.

      It's rather awful that the troll army patronized by the right-wing government is paying attention to something so small when India is grappling with the pandemic and many other challenges.

      Like it or not, the political environment of the country under the BJP regime has contributed to this. After all, Bollywood—being integral to Indian society cannot be immune—to such a toxic atmosphere.