Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani said that current government is tolerant as she took a joke on herself. The reaction came after National Award winning actor Rajkummar Rao, the host of 48th International Film Festival of India joked about her surname.
The minister, who was an actor before she started her political career, was referring to the joke that Rajkummar with a fractured leg, made on her surname by drawing a connection with Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi. The actor said that it was a co-incidence that the film director Majid Majidi whose film 'Beyond The Clouds' inaugurated the festival was an Irani, just like the Union minister. She said she was referring to the joke because she doesn't want people to point fingers at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and accuse its workers of breaking his (Rao's) leg.
"Rajkummar, I would like the whole country to know that you made fun of Irani - a minister --which shows what a tolerant government we are," Irani said in her speech at the event.And I am also expressing this, because I don't want anyone to say that 'BJP walon ne actor ki taang todh di' (BJP workers broke the actor's leg)."The minister was taking a jibe at the claims from many sections that the government is not tolerant and is stifling creative voice. The clamour is a reaction to the postponement of the Padmavati release, and the exclusion of S Durga and Nude from IFFI's Indian Panorama section.
Despite actors like Shabana Azmi and Hansal Mehta asking people to boycott the festival as a sign of protest, the film gala, which will go on till November 28, was opened by superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Indian cinema icons like Sridevi, A.R. Rahman, Shahid Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj were also present. Irani concluded the evening by inviting everyone to come and join the ride of knowing cinema better with the festival.
(With IANS inputs)