New Delhi: Union minister Piyush Goyal is reportedly set to host a dinner on Sunday for Bollywood celebrities to discuss the Citizenship Amendment Act, in what appears to be yet another attempt by the government to garner support for the legislation that has sparked countrywide protests.
The interesting caveat is that most of the few personalities who have spoken out against the Act on public fora do not figure in the list of invitees.
The news comes hot in the heels of Bharatiya Janata Party supporters’ attempts to drum up support for the Citizenship Amendment Act by peddling the phone number publicised as one that could give you free Netflix memberships and other solutions to loneliness.
The dinner, referred in the invite as “scrumptious,” has been organised at Grand Hyatt at 8 pm by film producer Mahaveer Jain, who HuffPost describes as a usual BJP-Bollywood go-between. Jain was reportedly responsible for organising the famous selfie that featured prime minister Narendra Modi with a host of Bollywood stars and directors.
Most of the invitees, in a list that includes lyricist Javed Akhtar, his son the director-actor Farhan Akhtar and director Karan Johar, have reportedly delayed in confirming their presence at the dinner.
“The idea behind the meeting is quite inclusive in approach and we request a participation of all the rational thoughts and different points of views pertaining to the Citizenship Amendment Act,” reads the invite.
Notably, actors Swara Bhasker, Richa Chadha and Zeeshan Ayyub, and directors Anurag Khashyap, Anubhav Sinha and Neeraj Ghaywan, who have spoken out against the Act in no uncertain terms, seem to have been glossed over in the list of invitees.
On Friday in Mumbai, Goyal who holds the twin charges of railways and commerce at a time that is crucial for both departments, accused the opposition parties of instigating youngsters against the CAA and triggering violence by spreading the “wrong perception” about the new law.
The dinner is ostensibly a measure by the BJP government to give out the “right” perception, although speculation is already rife on social media as to whether similar tweets supporting the Act will emerge from popular Bollywood handles after its completion.
Protests against the Act have been police brutality, targeted mostly against Muslims, that has killed at least 25 people across India. Bollywood is one of the major fields which has key players who are Muslims and could thus prove indispensable to whichever side they choose to be on regarding the CAA.