Ever since Aryan Khan was arrested during a rave party onboard a cruise, the cabal of left-liberals had come out in his defence.
One of the strategies adopted by the lobby to give a clean chit to Shahrukh Khan’s son, even before the conclusion of the investigation, was to lay emphasis on his Muslim identity. After Aryan was denied bail by the Esplanade Magistrate Court in Mumbai, the cabal started pushing the new narrative that Khan was being punished for ‘being a Muslim’.
Scores of ‘liberals’ took to Twitter, extending their support to the ‘Happy New Year’ actor and conjecturing that Aryan Khan has been ‘targeted’ as a means to get back at Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, for ‘being a Muslim’.
However, the perpetual ‘Muslim victimhood’ card is not limited to Leftist media persons alone.
About a decade ago, a well-known actor had tried to exploit the religion of his mother to detract people’s attention from his role in the 1993 bomb blasts. He was none other than Sanjay Dutt.
The year was 2009. The Bollywood actor went to Uttar Pradesh to campaign for local Samajwadi party leader Arshad Jamal, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. At that time, Dutt was also the General Secretary of the party.
During his campaign, Sanjay Dutt admitted that he was booked under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, also called TADA. However, Dutt also claimed that he was tortured, following the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, because he was ‘born to a Muslim mother’. Sanjay Dutt is the son of actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis.
A report in the Indian Express dating back to February 19, 2009, read, “I am quite happy to meet the family with whom my father spent some cherished moments, he (Sanjay Dutta) said, insisting that Lucknow was a second home to him. He also minced no words to remind his audience that his mother was a Muslim.”
Following his provocative remarks, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Sanjay Dutt and party leader Arshad Jamal by the Mau district police. A charge sheet was also filed before the local court, which later issued summons to the duo on December 10, 2010.
Interestingly, Aryan Khan is being given a pass by the same Bollywood lobby which once stood firmly with Dutt. The ‘Munnabhai’ actor was arrested for possession of illegal weapons that were given to him by underworld gaster Abu Salem. It must be mentioned that Salem was responsible for orchestrating the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993.
When the film fraternity batted for Sanjay Dutt
On July 4, 1994, Sanjay Dutt was remanded to judicial custody for his involvement in the Mumbai Bomb blasts. He was arrested under the provisions laid down by the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act(TADA). By evening, the news trickled in throughout the industry. Shah Rukh Khan, who was shooting for a commercial shoot, hurried to the Dutt residence at midnight.
Director Ramgopal Verma and actors Jackie Shroff and Gulshan Grover hightailed it to Mumbai from Hyderabad. A meeting was convened by the Cine Artistes’ Association at chief Asha Parekh’s house the following day.
The shock of Sanjay’s arrest had sent ripples across the movie industry. By the next morning, i.e July 6, the entire Bollywood industry was mobilised to extend their support for the actor. The turnout was astonishing as several top Bollywood personalities, from Dilip Kumar to Yash Chopra and Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, to Saif Ali Khan, Mahesh Bhatt, Saira Banu, Karishma Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Randhir Kapoor and several others had come to the Thane Jail as a mark of solidarity for Sanjay Dutt. Film director Mukul Anand had printed 1,000 posters overnight declaring “Sanju, we’re with u.”
The Bollywood solidarity at Thane Jail was just the start. Industry stalwarts had planned several strategies to evoke public sympathy for the actor. About Rs 7 lakh were raised to print posters and run a media campaign in support of Sanjay Dutt.
Music companies gave their hoarding space while theatres agreed to interrupt shows with slides in support of the actor. A well-coordinated campaign was run to enhance the battered image of Sanjay Dutt by focusing on the social causes he had been associated with in the past.
Arrested under TADA for harbouring illegal weapons, Sanjay Dutt had spent 18 months in jail while the trial was going on. The Supreme Court had convicted Dutt in 2013 and had sentenced him to 5 years in jail. Dutt spent 3 years in Pune’s Yerawada jail and was finally released in 2016.
Sanjay Dutt had wanted to contest in the 2009 general elections too. But the Supreme Court had rejected his plea and had barred the actor from contesting in elections due to his involvement in the 1993 bomb blasts case.
Support for Aryan Khan and the immunity granted by one’s Muslim idenity
For years now, left-leaning “liberals” touted Bollywood as a totem of Hindu-Muslim unity, an industry they claimed transcended the religious boundaries and united people of all hues. But when Shah Rukh Khan’s son was arrested by a narcotics agency, these moralizing platitudes about Bollywood being a microcosm of Indian diversity are shunned and swept under the carpet. A Bollywood actor is pigeonholed as a Muslim superstar so as to perpetuate the Muslim victimhood narrative that the left has mastered over the years.