Mumbai: A visibly angry Shah Rukh Khan finally appeared at a much-awaited press meet following the controversy that portions of his article in Outlook magazine called ‘Being a Khan’ has stirred up.
The actor seemed emotional as he read out a lengthy statement and chunks from his article to address the controversy at an event here, saying, "I do not even understand the basis of this controversy."
Reiterating that people should read his article before commenting, Shah Rukh lashed out at the critics saying, “Ironically what I said in the article is precisely what has happened. People who haven’t even read it are following others who haven’t read it either.”
He termed the whole controversy as “nonsense”. "Let us not be mislead by those who use religion as a tool," he said.
Shah Rukh added, "Being a public figure makes me prone to any kind of questioning, good and bad and at sometimes and on sometimes makes me an object of controversy as people use my name and statements to attach any positive or negative sentiment to it. This is the life I chose and stand by it...I am, because of the love and admiration that comes with being who I am in my profession. I thank everyone for making me the star I am."
According to him, the article he wrote was "actually meant to reiterate that on some occasions, being an Indian Muslim filmstar is misused by bigots and narrow-minded people, who have misplaced religious ideologies and ironically the same has happened through this article once again."
He said that when his children ask him what his religion is, his response always is – “I tell my children that you are an Indian first and your religion is humanity.”
"My own family and friends, are like a mini India...where all religions, professions and a few wrongs included, all are treated with tolerance and understanding and regard for each other...I stand indebted to my audience in my country and around the world. It is sad that I have to say it to prove it, in my country, which my father fought for, during the Independence struggle."
He went on to request the media present not to “sensationalize and trivialize matters of national interest and religion.”
To Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s advice to India that SRK must be given security he said in a harsh tone that India was a safe and secular country. "We have an amazing democratic, free and secular way of life. In the environment that we live here in my country India, we have no safety issues regarding life and material. As a matter-of-fact, it is irksome for me to clarify this non-existent issue".
“My safety has been never an issue to me and should not be an issue to others,” he said.
He added - “It just takes a heart to give love. I am a Khan and to be a Khan is to love and be loved back.”
He ended his strong rebuttal quoting passages from the entire article to prove his point before finishing by requesting the media to ask him questions concerning his movies henceforth.
“24 hours of unwanted controversy is more than enough. Let me get back to what I do best – that of making movies,” he said.
The furore started after Pakistan's Interior Minister Rahman Malik said that India should take care of Khan's security, drawing sharp reaction from India with the government as well as the political class saying should be more worried over security of its citizens.
The controversy stemmed from the actor's remarks that he sometimes became inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make him a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India.
With PTI inputs