Anupam Kher’s TV appearance on prime time asking the audience “What’s wrong happening bhai?, is the height of hypocrisy on one hand and sheer disrespect for intelligence of millions of serious minded Indians who are feeling genuinely concerned about the state connived hooliganism happening with increasing frequency and crass indifference of those in power.

Anupam Kher is an average character actor even by Bollywood standards. His flash in the pan performance after the debut appearance in Hindi film Saraansh does not grant him any moral authority to question albeit indirectly the intentions of galaxy of stalwarts who have returned their awards. Every one of these dignitaries has clearly stated reasons for their act. Anupam Kher would do better if he first listens/reads their contentions for this act. I guess he thinks he is acting out one of those semi idiot caricatures of Bollywood movies, which he reproduces with unfailing identity film after film.

Here he is asking us the questions describing scenarios akin to from street violence on one hand a law and order failure to down right fascism that gags freedom of expression in all forms. This clever diversionary trick of his script writer (I don’t think he can improvise even when it is Bollywood silly script)shows utter disrespect for the intellect of an average Indian watching his performance as protagonist making casual enquiry.

Yes, we don’t have a situation like Lahore or Karachi where random street shootings are more frequent. Nor do we live in Saudi Arabia where if one reads Bible he is consigned to gallows. Nor India today is like Egypt where journalists are incarcerated on flimsy grounds and cases drag on for years despite all round international condemnations. But is this the yardstick, we should measure a country which aspires for a permanent seat in security council at United Nations?

With what courage can we ask this question to the family of 90-year-old Dalit man who died after being brutally attacked with an axe and set on fire for trying to enter a temple at Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh? Or for that matter, what do we say to the family of Mohammad Akhlaq, victim of the worst ever organised crime in the history of Independent India. Do we take the assassinations first of Dabholkar, then Comrade. Pansare and then Kalburgi as random events done by disparate set of criminals for petty personal gains?

Connecting the dots is a skill that is increasingly important as one matures in career and move into more strategic roles. Those who “connect the dots” make a logical or implied connection between facts or disparate pieces of information in order to arrive at a conclusion. I don’t think Anupam Kher lacks this skill. I think it is the other way. As some one professionally trained at the National School of Drama, he is reading lines given to him. All that he is doing is this is putting conviction in the role. Pretty strange for someone who came out as a conscientious human being during his intervention in FTII crisis. The moral high grounds with which he lambasted poor Gajendra Singh Chouhan is quite inconsistent with his current saffron advocacy. If in the end, it is all for some gain, then Gajendra singh Chouhan hardly deserved that level of public scolding from some one who ran past the pole and made it in a race for name and fame, whereas gritty Chouhan fell few meters behind and hence trying to make up for it some other way.

Why? Is the question still haunts me

I don’t want to be nasty or small minded to say that, this is a paid performance. Surely, he earns far more by character actor roles that he plays, which he once claimed to be as important as the lead roles because they carry the film through. Spousal pressures can be a possible factor. Or is it the much coveted Rajat Kamal Award? At least the Government will be sure not to have it returned from one recipient!

After all, we can only try to connect dots!