This is not an easy time for Indian celebrities at international forums, where questions on the Indian government’s recent moves in Kashmir and other sensitive political issues are raised unannounced by aggressive voices in the audience.
In one such incident, our glamorous global ambassador, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, found herself in a sticky situation in Los Angeles last week when a Pakistani woman in the audience accused Priyanka of encouraging nuclear attacks on Pakistan.
“You are United Nations Goodwill ambassador for peace and you are encouraging nuclear war in Pakistan. There is no way you are in this… As a Pakistani, millions of people like me have supported you in your business,” the attacker yelled.
Priyanka dodged the verbal missiles with grace and responded, “I have many, many friends from Pakistan and I am from India.War is not something I’m really fond of but I am patriotic, so I’m sorry if I hurt sentiments to people who do love me and have loved me. But I think that all of us have a, sort of, middle ground that we all have to walk. Just like you probably do as well. The way that you came to me right now... girl, don’t yell. We’re all here for love.”
Though she responded elegantly, others may not be so fortunate. A young popular actress says the situation is dicey. “Pataa nahin kaun kahan pe kya puchega. (I don’t know who will ask what from where). This is especially dangerous at international events, where the audience consists of people from all over the world. I am sometimes asked about issues related to Indian politics that I have no clue about,” she says.
Veteran actor Anupam Kher who is globally known and respected, says it’s time for Indian entertainers to leave their bubbles. “You can’t be up on a stage at an international event and not be prepared to answer uncomfortable questions. At the same time, you have to give politically correct answers or you will get into trouble when you return home. I do my homework before I go abroad. I don’t want to be caught on the wrong foot,” he says.