Himanta Sarma controversy: Amid criticisms over his swift transition from “Who is Shah Rukh Khan” to “SRK called me”, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday clarified that he still doesn’t know much about the actor, and hardly watches movies. The CM also said that he harbours little knowledge about the Hindi film industry.
“I have seen films of Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and Jeetendra……I still don’t know much about Shah Rukh Khan. Since 2001, I have seen not more than six to seven films,” he said at a press conference in Guwahati.
Talking about his conversation with the megastar, Sarma said that he had received a text message from the actor on Saturday at 7:40 pm, which stated, ‘I am Shah Rukh Khan. I want to talk to you’.
“There were many in the queue who wanted to talk to me. After clearing those, a message was sent to him (Shah Rukh) at 2 am on Sunday saying that I was available for a call. He then called me and said that his film was releasing soon and that he hoped there won’t be any problem. “I asked him the name of his film and he said ‘Pathaan’. I told him ‘koi disturb nahi hoga’ (there will be no disturbances),” the CM recounted.
Sarma on boycott gang
On the boycott calls given against the movie, Sarma said that those willing to watch the film will do so and the rest can skip it. The CM asserted that his government, however, “will not let Assam get a bad name”. Asked about his “Who is Shah Rukh Khan” remark, the chief minister retorted, “Why should I know him? I really did not know that he was such a great man….I do not watch many films. I know about older actors. The attraction for stars varies across generations.
“Besides, I don’t know the entire three crore people of the state or even my voters to whom I am indebted to,” he added. Referring to ‘Pathaan’ poster vandalisation by right-wingers who also sought a ban on the film, Sarma noted that tearing down of posters was no crime and sought to know under what law they should be booked.
“Posters of politicians are torn down all the time but there is no discussion on that. It is time people changed their mindset,” he added. Bajrang Dal activists had recently stormed a cinema hall in the Narengi area and tore down posters of ‘Pathaan’, burnt those and raised slogans against the film.
‘Pathaan’, starring Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, will hit the theatres on January 25.
(With inputs from PTI)