Prior to the highly anticipated release of Laal Singh Chadha, a scene-by-scene copy of Tom Hanks’ classic Forrest Gump, Aamir Khan faced much anger from Indian moviegoers who have called for a boycott of his latest film. Aamir Khan, whose last big-budget ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ became one of the biggest flops in the history of Indian cinema, seems to be feeling the effects of these boycott calls.
When asked about hashtags like ‘Boycott Bollywood’ and ‘Boycott Laal Singh Chaddha’ that are trending on Twitter, the actor said he was sad about it. He also said the “trolls” make it sound like he doesn’t love his country, but that’s absolutely “not true.” Even though Aamir Khan had openly told viewers not to watch his movies in the past, this time the boycott calls seem to be affecting him and his PR drive over the past few days reflects that.
The reason most moviegoers plan to boycott an Aamir movie varies from person to person, some want to boycott him for his mockery of Hindu gods in PK, some want to boycott his movies for his opposition to the Sardar Sarovar- dam that provided water to the most drought-ravaged areas of Gujarat, some want to boycott it for blaming current Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the 2002 riots in Gujarat, while some just can’t stand the hypocrisy.
Another reason why many moviegoers plan to boycott Aamir Khan’s films is his proximity to overtly anti-India Turkey, his association with Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi (who repeatedly calls for ‘independence of Jammu & Kashmir’ from India) , and Aamir’s encounter with people like Pakistani Maulana Tariq Jameel.
To counter these boycott calls from the common Indians, Aamir Khan’s PR has tried to paint a rosier picture of the tough-guy Bollywood, and one such effort comes from the Bollywood website Koimoi.
Koimoi published an article titled: “Has Aamir Khan Jamaat-E-Ul Met Terrorist Maulana Tariq Jameel & Pakistani Cricket Player Shahid Afridi in Saudi Arabia? Debunked Rumors!” on August 5, 2022, in which, instead of dispelling rumors, they confirmed that Aamir Khan did indeed meet these anti-Indian people in Saudi Arabia.
While trying to refute Aamir Khan’s meeting with Tariq Jameel, the article notes: “It is worth pointing out that multiple publications reported that Laal Singh Chaddha’s actor met them in Mecca when he went on a pilgrimage accompanied by his mother Zeenat Hussain in October 2012. The photo mentioned was taken at the time, and former Pakistani music band Vital Signs member Junaid Jamshed was also present.”
The article further confirms that Junaid Jamshed also shared the photo on his Facebook account with the caption: “Shahid Afridi and Aamir Khan with Maulana Tariq Jameel.”
Who is Tariq Jameel whose photo with Aamir Khan is causing all the controversy?
Tariq Jameel is a Pakistani Islamic television preacher and member of Tablighi Jamaat. It is important to note that Tablighi Jamaat has been banned in Saudi Arabia after the custodian of the two holy mosques called Tablighi Jamaat “one of the gates of terrorism”.
In a tweet on December 6, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs said: “His Excellency the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr.#Abdullatif Al_Alsheikh ordered the preachers of the mosques and the mosques that temporarily held Friday prayers to deliver the following Friday sermon 5/ 6/1443 H to warn against (the Tablighi and Da’wah group) who is called (Al Ahbab)”.
The tweet stated that the minister has stipulated that the sermon should cover topics such as the statement of “the deception, deviation and danger of this group, and that it is one of the gates of terrorism, even if they claim otherwise”, to help their prominent errors, to state their danger to society and a statement that affiliation with partisan groups (including the Tablighi and Da’wah Group) is prohibited in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Tablighi Jamaat gained widespread notoriety in India as the Delhi gathering became one of the earliest Coronavirus hotspots in the country. The Tablighi Jamaat event was attended not only by Indian Muslim clerics but also by foreigners.
After emerging as a ‘super spreader’ of the Wuhan coronavirus, the behavior of the members of the Tablighi Jamaat did not improve. While being transported from Nizamuddin for their treatment, they spit on roads during the bus ride. After being transferred to quarantine facilities in Delhi, they exhibited unruly behavior with staff and doctors. The residents made unreasonable demands on food, mistreated and mistreated employees and spit on and on people who worked/cared for them, including doctors.
Controversial preacher Tariq Jameel, who met Aamir Khan, had previously blamed Muslim women when the coronavirus was rampant in the country. At the height of the Coronavirus crisis, he had said that when Muslim women and youth indulge in shameless and immodest behavior, Allah hurts and hurts the people.