GURGAON, INDIA - DECEMBER 5: Bollywood actress of film, television and theatre Shabana Azmi on the second day of the Gurgaon International Film and Literature Festival on December 5, 2015 in Gurgaon, India. (Photo by Abhinav Saha/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Dr. Shirin Abbas, Exclusively for The India Observer: Actress, socialist, activist–there may be many mantles donned by Shabana Azmi, but being a Modi fan is not one that she would don–not now and unlikely in the near future as well.
The actress is aghast at a clever video doing the rounds of social media, primarily WhatsApp groups, being circulated by BJP supporters showing Azmi all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking to TIO Bureau Chief from Mumbai, Azmi said, “WhatsApp groups are circulating a cleverly (and maliciously) edited video to suggest that India Today and I personally are part of some propaganda machine for PM Modi.. the video, taken from a 2-year-old programme, shows only the bits where I highlight Mr. Modi’s strengths and has kept out the bits where I criticize his failures.. This is a video of a show we did in May 2017 on 3 years of the Modi Govt titled ‘Good, Bad and Ugly.. ‘
Azmi, who is known for her secular ideals and outspoken criticism of forces trying to polarize India and put an end to its pluralism, speaking to TIO, said “I want everyone to know, friend or foe: I will continue to show the mirror to all those in public life, esp those in power, without fear or favour. So don’t ever again try to malign with a fake narrative. My spine is still intact.. and will remain so. Just a final word: half knowledge is dangerous. Please verify before accusing someone next time with instant judgments as even some friends are prone to do. “
Azmi is now circulating the entire video which was made in May 2017 after the UP elections at the peak of Mr. Modi’s popularity. In her Facebook post on the controversy, she writes, “Here is our full show Good, Bad and Ugly done on completion of three years of the Modi Govt in May 2017.. as you will see all the bad and ugly parts have been kept out in the video being circulated by BJP Whatsapp groups.
Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi