As the 'war of words' between veteran actors Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher stays in the headlines, the latter has found vocal support from an old friend: Former Mizoram governor Swaraj Kaushal.
On Monday, a video interview of Naseeruddin Shah went viral in which he described Anupam Kher as a “clown” and having a sycophantic nature. Anupam Kher responded with a video on his Twitter handle on Wednesday, saying Naseeruddin Shah had spent his life in frustration.
Mr.Naseeruddin Shah, you are an ungrateful man. This country gave you all the name, fame and money. Yet you are a disillusioned man. You married outside your religion. No one ever said a word. Your brother became Lt.General of the Indian Army. Have you not been given more— Governor Swaraj (@governorswaraj) January 22, 2020
Swaraj Kaushal is the husband of late BJP leader Sushma Swaraj and has the distinction of being the youngest person to become a governor in India. He was appointed to the post of Mizoram governor at the age of 37 in 1990 and served for three years.
Swaraj Kaushal tweeted that he had been a contemporary of Anupam Kher. "I have known him for 47 years and more. I was doing my law and AnupamPKher and @KirronKherBJP were studying theatre under the legendary Director Balwant Gargi," Swaraj Kaushal wrote, referring to their time at Panjab University in the early 1970s. Incidentally, Sushma Swaraj too was a student of Panjab University.
Swaraj Kaushal described Anupam Kher as an "honest, upright and a self made man" and an "accomplished actor". "When he would go up the stage, the audience was transformed into another world. He was a star, but down to earth," Swaraj Kaushal tweeted.
Swaraj Kaushal then brought up a theme close to Anupam Kher: The plight of Kashmiri Pandits. Swaraj Kaushal tweeted Anupam Kher "has not forgotten his roots. He has not left his people. His family has a home in Srinagar. They are not able to live there because Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out of Kashmir".
Swaraj Kaushal then started berating Naseeruddin Shah, alleging, "You think you are a better actor than Anupam Kher? You are sadly mistaken."
“Mr.Naseeruddin Shah, you are an ungrateful man. This country gave you all the name, fame and money. Yet you are a disillusioned man. You married outside your religion. No one ever said a word. Your brother became Lt.General of the Indian Army. Have you not been given more than an equal opportunity. Yet you are unhappy. You speak of apathy and discrimination. When you do all the blabbering, it is your 'conscience'. When Anupam speaks his pain on being declared homeless in his own country, it is 'psychophancy'," Swaraj Kaushal declared.
Kaushal appears to be referring to the fact that Naseeruddin Shah's wife, Ratna Pathak, is a Hindu. Naseeruddin's brother, Zameer Uddin Shah, retired as a lieutenant general in the Indian Army.
Naseeruddin Shah had made the comments about Anupam Kher when talking about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Swaraj Kaushal had expressed his support for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
In an interview with ANI last week, Swaraj Kaushal argued, "… I really do not find one good reason to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. It does not concern people who are already here. It concerns those who have come from a foreign country."