King Khan is one star who has never shied away from expressing his views. But on Monday, Shah Rukh Khan Khan said freedom of speech also means the right to be silent.
At the launch of the much-awaited film Fan's trailer on Monday, he was at his witty best while interacting with the media. But his answer on intolerance was more grim.
"When I would watch Mumbai Indians' match against KKR, the only one appeal I would make is 'Out'...I am not getting into this. Freedom of speech means the right to keep silent also. I am very silent about this," he said.
Because whenever these big film stars talk about something, it can be used against them. Especially by political parties and their supporters.
And these are some of the many examples when SRK got into trouble for expressing himself:
- After his opinion on intolerance, his film Dilwale faced demonstrations in many parts of the country, something that affected the film's sales of the movie.
- This also led LeT founder and 26/11 accused Hafiz Saeed saying he should move to Pakistan if he felt ‘insecure’ in India which again hurt the actor's image.
- In an interview with Outlook in 2013, he said, "I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India... I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country..."
- He had even spoken up about the non-inclusion of Pakistani players in IPL, which had led to Shiv Sena to threaten his film My Name is Khan.
- In February 2016, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members protested against the shooting of Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film Raees in Bhuj, Gujarat, for his earlier remarks on “intolerance”.
- It didn't end there. He was at the receiving end of protests once again on February 17, when he visited Hansraj college in Delhi to collect his degree.
With two of his movies coming up, SRK knows very well that one wrong opinion could spell doom for it. With multiple experiences he has learnt his lesson very well, and that despite the relative security that comes with being a celebrity, you ought to measure your words.
Wise as it might sound in a nation that takes offence at the slightest of things, his silence certainly is a dangerous indicator about the freedom of speech. When an SRK finds refuge in the right to remain silent thanks to the backlash he faced over his earlier statements, it makes it all the more ominous for the rest for those who don't share as well known a name.