Lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar took offense of filmmaker Shekhar Kapur‘s tweet on Sunday, July 28. The acclaimed poet lashed out at Kapur for his tweet in which he said that he still feels like a refugee even after years of partition and that he fears intellectuals who are like snakes. While the context of Kapur’s tweet is not known, several Twitter user believed that it was made to retort against the open letter that has been signed by several celebrities to express concern over the increasing cases of lynchings in the country.
In a series of tweets launched against Kapur’s tweet, Javed Akhtar first wrote, “.who are these intellectuals who embraced you and you found that embrace like a snake’s bite ? Shyam Benegal , Adoor Gopal Krishna , Ram chandra Guha ? Really ? . Shekhar saheb you are not well . You need help . Come on , there is no shame in meeting a good psychiatrist .” (sic)
He then went on to add, “What do you mean by still a refugee Does it mean that you feel like an outsider n not an Indian n you don’t feel that this is your motherland .If in India you are still a refugee where will you not feel like a refugee ,In Pakistan? Cut this melodrama you poor rich but lonely guy” (sic)
The veteran then took notice of what’s mentioned in Kapur’s Twitter bio and wrote, “You introduce yourself as neither prejudiced by the past nor afraid of the future living in this moment and in the same breath you say you are a refugee of partition and still a refugee . One doesn’t need a magnifying glass to see the contradiction.” (sic)
Kapur, who is known for making films like Mr. India (1987) and Bandit Queen (1994) among others, made just one tweet in response to all the tweets that Akhtar made. He wrote, “No. It means once you are a refugee, you feel a gypsy.” (sic)
Film producer Ashoke Pandit, who is known for being an ardent supporter of the Narendra Modi-government criticised Akhtar for his tweets attacking Kapur. In his tweet, he said, “Sir, this coming from U for an acclaimed filmmaker like @shekharkapur ji who has been like ur family member, is very sad. To be very honest, we all realised that they were snakes post 2014 when @narendramodi came to power & these contractors of intellectualism got exposed.” (sic)
As many as 49 celebrities from various fields of arts and culture signed a letter to PM Modi expressing concern over ‘Jai Shri Ram’ being used as a war cry and the rising cases of lynchings and intolerance in the country. This includes filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, Mani Ratnam, actor Aparna Sen and historian Ramchandra Guha among others. In response to this, other 62 celebrities signed another letter to the PM accusing the previous group of ‘selective outrage, false narratives and clear political bias.’ Neither Javed Akhtar nor Shekhar Kapur signed any of the two letters.