The veteran actor also said that India is getting intolerant by the day. PM’s silence on his ‘followers’ celebrating the murder of Gauri Lankesh, was akin to an ‘actor trying to please his followers’.
Veteran actor Prakash Raj, who has won accolades for his roles in both mainstream Bollywood movies, and movies in the South Indian film industry, on Monday lashed out a Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence in the murder of veteran journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Prakash Raj, who claims to have known Gauri for the past 35 years, said that her father was a mentor to him. Speaking with reporters, the five-time National Award-winning actor said, ““I am worried about the PM’s silence. Is he trying to endorse cruelty espoused by some of his followers?”.
Speaking after inaugurating the 11th state meet of the Left-oriented Democratic Youth Federation of India here, he said, “Those who killed Gauri may or may not be traced but that apart, there is a huge crowd out there enjoying and celebrating her murder on social media. We all know who they are, what their ideology is. Some of those celebrating this ghastly episode are being followed by none other than Mr Modi himself. This is what worries me, where is our country is headed to?” he questioned, adding that the PM’s silence makes him a “better actor than me”.
He said that Mr Modi by remaining silent on his followers’ actions, was only proving a point that “he is trying to become a bigger actor than me”.
“I am worried about the PM’s silence. Is he trying to endorse cruelty espoused by some of his followers,” he questioned angrily and added that he does not mind returning his five national film awards to Mr Modi if he continues to remain silent on such cruelty.
“Some people who are followed by our Prime Minister on Twitter are so brutal, and we have a PM who has closed his eyes to it. If you see videos today from Uttar Pradesh, you will be confused if he (Yogi Adityanath) is the Chief Minister or the pujari (priest) of some temple. We have people doing such double roles,” Prakash Raj said angrily yesterday in Bengaluru. “They have given me five National Awards. I feel like giving it to them. These are bigger actors than me.”
“I am a renowned actor, do you (Modi) think I will not be able to detect when you are acting. At least show me some respect, considering the fact that I am an actor and I will be able to tell what is the truth and what is acting,” he lashed out.
“That is exactly what is terrifying. That it is happening continuously. And whoever the cowards are, they are unabashedly trying to challenge the system, challenge our conscience and say, ‘We can silence voices.’ Whoever is reasoning, and the whole Freedom of Expression, having a right to express, is trying to be questioned,” he said.
Prakash Raj has won 5 National Awards for films across industries in his long career. These are Best Supporting Actor for Iruvar (1997, Tamil), Special Jury Award for Anthapuram (1999,Telugu), Special Jury Award for various movies (2003, multiple languages), Best Actor for Kanchivaram (2007, Tamil), and Best Film for Puttakkana Highway (2010, Kannada).