New Delhi: Bollywood star Aamir Khan believes, he still continues to be India's brand ambassador. "For me, my motherland is my mother, not a brand. I can never view my mother as a brand."
In his first detailed interview on the intolerance controversy in Rajat Sharma's show Aap Ki Adalat, Aamir Khan said, "I never said, India was intolerant. I was wrongly quoted...To say about rising intolerance and to say India is intolerant are two different things."
On megastar Amitabh Bachchan's remark that Aamir has damaged India's brand identity by his statement, Aamir Khan replied: "I had said in my interview that there was a sense of depression, a sense of despondency, a feeling of insecurity and intolerance was growing. But these are entirely two different things.
"Our country is very tolerant, but there are people who spread ill-will. For me, my motherland is my mother, it cannot be a brand. It could be a brand for other people, but not to me. Till this date, I continue to be India's brand ambassador, even though the government may have discontinued me."
"For 10 years, I was brand ambassador for Incredible India's Atithi Devo Bhava campaign. I never charged a penny for all my public service campaigns for the country, nor will I ever charge in future", Aamir Khan said.
On his wife Kiran Rao expressing her intention to leave India because of insecurity, Aamir Khan said: "Often we speak so many things among ourselves, but that does not mean, we take 100 per cent action on them. Nor was that our intention. Kiran had actually expressed a feeling, an emotion, and I was perturbed over that. Even she is clear, she has no intention to leave India. Both Kiran and I were born here, and we will die here. We are not going to leave our country, let me make it clear."
The superstar however appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to curb those people who were spreading hatred. "Those who speak of breaking up this vast country, such people are present in all religions, Only Modiji can stop them. After all, Modiji is our PM, we have to tell him."
"When we see too many news about violence on TV, read them in newspapers, then an atmosphere of fear is created. Not only myself, every Indian is infected with fear. I would also appeal to media not to highlight such violence, as it creates a sense of insecurity and fear among common people. After all, Kiran is a mother, a mother always worries about her children."
Aamir Khan said: "I agree you cannot give 100 per cent security to all, but a sense of security comes from two things: one, from our justice system, which should ensure speedy justice to all, and two, our elected representatives, who should raise their voice when something wrong happens. After all, law is equal for all, and nobody is above law.
Unfortunately, there are some people who spread negativity and hatred. If I am not wrong, our Prime Minister has also expressed concern. His slogan is 'sabka saath, sabka vikaas".
"Whenever some people try to divide us, we should become alert, we should beware as to why we are being reminded that we are Muslim, a Hindu or a Sikh. After all, we are Indians. We have to be on our guard", said Aamir Khan.
The superstar said, there was no intention on his part or on the part of director Rajkumar Hirani and writer Abhijaat Joshi, about denigrating Hindu religion in the film "PK". "It was only a character playing the role of Shiva in a play, who was made fun of, in a particular situation. After all, Lord Shankar is Almighty, how can we dare make fun of him?"
Aamir Khan said, he fully empathized with the cause of migrant Kashmiri Pandits. "My heart cries even today for them. It is shameful, and I appeal to people living in the valley to bring the Kashmiri Pandits back."
Aamir Khan in Rajat Sharma's show Aap Ki Adalat will be telecast tonight at 10 pm on India TV. The repeat telecasts will take place on Sunday March 6 at 10 am and 10 pm.