CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi, producers Ritesh Sidhwani and Bhushan Kumar, director Abhishek Kapoor and actor Ranvir Shorey were among the Bollywood personalities that attended a special meeting with Union minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday for a discussion on the contentious Citizenship Act.
The meeting, followed by dinner, was hosted at a suburban hotel in Mumbai amid heavy police security and also saw the presence of BJP vice president Baijayant Jay Panda. “It was a good meeting. It’s great to see the government reach out to clear the air regarding the CAA,” Shorey told sources. “We were told that more such meetings are being organised with people from different walks of life,” he said. “I already had no issues with the CAA and I hope more people are not misled about it affecting any Indian citizen.”
While the meeting was held, a bunch of people staged a demonstration outside the hotel premises against the amended Citizenship Act. They held up placards against the government and Bollywood.
The invite was also sent to other bigwigs of the industry, including Javed Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Richa Chadha, Kabir Khan and Karan Johar, but none of them turned up for the meeting, sources reported.
The incident could be emblematic of the current split within the Bollywood fraternity, which has largely remained apolitical throughout the years. After the violence at JNU, director Bejoy Nambiar questioned the silence of many in the film fraternity.
“All you silent friends of mine watch this !!! Watch this & then come and talk to me about how concerned you are about the damage to public’ property. How is THIS OK ? How can we watch students & teachers being brutally attacked like this and stay quiet ?” he asked.
Filmmaker Pooja Bhatt tweeted:
Filmmaker Rahul Raiwal was among the first to arrive, followed by Anu Malik, Sidhwani, filmmaker Kunal Kohli, actor Shailesh Lodha, singers Kailash Kher, Roop Kumar Rathod and Shaan. Producer couple Anu and Shashi Ranjan were also present.
The text of the invite for Sunday’s meeting read: “The agenda of the meeting will be to facilitate a discussion on myths and realities pertaining to the Citizenship Amendment Act.”
The invite, however, was not extended to actor Swara Bhasker, filmmakers Anubhav Sinha and Anurag Kashyap—all of whom have been vocal about their stand against the controversial citizenship law. Protests broke out across the country after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was cleared by Parliament and signed by President Ram Nath Kovind into an Act.
Other Bollywood celebrities who have expressed their disappointment over the Citizenship Act are Farhan Akhtar, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Parineeti Chopra, Richa Chadha and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub.