MUMBAI: Veteran actor Om Puri on Tuesday landed in a soup after expressing support to Pakistani artistes performing in India and going on to make remarks about Indian Army soldiers that lent themselves to interpretation.
A police complaint has been filed against Om Puri. Mumbai deputy commissioner of police Ashok Dudhe confirmed the complaint and said an inquiry was going on.
Puri's remarks came during a TV debate on fellow actor Salman Khan’s statement of support -- “they are artists, not terrorists” -- to Pakistani artistes working in India. “You want India and Pakistan to be turned into Israel and Palestine and indulge in a fight for centuries?" asked Om Puri. “I don’t give a damn to Salman Khan or some other Khan. Go to Modiji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and cancel their (Pakistani actors’) visas. Prepare 15-20 people as suicide bombers and send them to Pakistan.” The actor went on to say, “Who asked the soldiers to join the Army? Who told them to pick up weapons?”
The 65-year-old star said he was the son of a soldier. The complaint against Om Puri was filed by the president of a local organization at the Andheri police station. The complaint alleged that the actor insulted the Indian Army and the nation and demanded that a FIR be registered against Om Puri him for sedition under Section 124 (A) of the Indian penal Code.
Fellow actor Anupam Kher questioned Om Puri's remarks. Kher tweeted, “Dear #OmPuriji. Main aapki bahut izzat karta hoon. Lekin kal tv per desh ke sainik ke baare mein aapki baat sunkar bahut DUKH hua. #VerySad."
Ashoke Pandit, chairman of the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA), which has imposed a ban on Pakistani actors working in Bollywood, weighed in on Twitter: “#OmPuri Ji, PakArtistsBanned isn’t a solution bt show of solidarity 2 our martyrs. V can't b lighting pyres while cont. 2 perform with them,”
Bollywood personalities have been running shy of expressing their thoughts on the question of Indo-Pakistan relations and particularly the question of actors from across the border working here. On Tuesday, veteran lyricist-writer Gulzar bristled when asked about the current tensions between the two nations at a film function. Gulzar, 82, told reporters, "Is this relevant to the programme for which we have come? Aap agar shaadi may jaayein, aur baat frontier ki karne lage, theek lagega?."