Chandigarh: Protests by a farmers’ organisation against the screening of the Akshay Kumar-starrer Sooryavanshi continued in Punjab for the third day Monday. The protests will be escalated if the film is not withdrawn from theatres or banned by the Punjab government, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Kadian) national spokesperson Ravneet Singh Brar told ThePrint.
Akshay Kumar, who was born in Amritsar, has been at the receiving end of anger from some farmers since he tweeted in favour of the “India against propaganda” campaign earlier this year.
In February, after several international personalities, including popstar Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg, tweeted in support of the protests against the farm laws, a host of Bollywood and sports celebrities put out similar tweets against what they termed an attempt to “create differences” in the country.
Kumar posted his message as a retweet of a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) slamming “vested interest groups” trying to “mobilise international support against India”.
Farmers constitute an extremely important part of our country. And the efforts being undertaken to resolve their issues are evident. Let’s support an amicable resolution, rather than paying attention to anyone creating differences. 🙏🏻#IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda https://t.co/LgAn6tIwWp
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) February 3, 2021
There has also been resentment about Kumar not supporting the agitation, which moved out of Punjab and reached Delhi’s borders in November 2020.
“While we questioned Akshay Kumar’s complete silence on the issue, his tweeting in favour of the Modi government came as a complete surprise. Akshay Kumar has been playing the quintessential Punjabi-Sikh patriot in his films wearing the Sikh headgear in multiple performances like Kesari,” Brar said.
“These films were super hits and did extremely well in Punjab, where he was the most popular. But is this what he has to give us in return?” he added.
Sooryavanshi, a multistarrer also starring Ranveer Singh, Ajay Devgn and Katrina Kaif, hit theatres on 5 November.
The farmers’ protest has reportedly led to the cancellation of some Sooryavanshi shows.
On 5 November, the Kisan Ekta Morcha, the official Facebook page of the ‘Kisan andolan’, also said they would oppose its screening.
Not an official protest till now: Samyukta Kisan Morcha
The protest against Sooryavanshi, Brar said, started Saturday. “We have staged dharnas outside almost every PVR (private theatre chain) in Punjab which is screening this film,” he said.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of the farmers agitating against the three central farm laws, said they were yet to take a call on the BKU (Kadian)’s protest against Sooryavanshi.
“The protest by BKU Kadian is an independent/individual effort, not an official effort till now. However, the leaders of the SKM will be discussing the matter tomorrow during our meeting, after which a final decision will be taken,” said Dr Darshan Pal of the Krantikari Kisan Union Punjab, a member of the SKM, Monday.
Two months ago, protests were also held against the screening of Akshay Kumar’s Bell Bottom outside a theatre in Patiala.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)