Mumbai: Weird Twitter drama has been raging over Bollywood superstars Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar all through Saturday.
As Salman fans thronged to the theatres to catch "Dabangg 3", an inexplicable hashtag -- #SalmanHatesHindu -- mushroomed out of nowhere and started trending on social media. Soon, his fans and followers came forward with #SalmanMostSecularIndian as a response.
Even as hate and love poured in for Salman, a section of netizens took to Twitter to slam Akshay for disrespecting Lord Ram in the second trailer of "Good News", and the hashtag #AkshayAbusesLordRama started trending.
As far as #SalmanHatesHindu goes, there is no clear logic why the hashtag has been trending, considering users posting hate messages against the superstar have revealed no precise reason. Various images of his old films, memes on his run-ins with law, and the recent controversy around the "Dabangg 3" title song, are being circulated.
Some even tried to connect the hashtag with the ongoing stir over the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) and others urged Akshay Kumar fans to join in and make the hashtag go viral.
"Akkians kaha gaye?," posted a user, while another wrote: "Abe tweet bi karo sirf rt nahi".
Some posted shots of Salman with saffron-clad sadhus dancing with guitars in a scene of the "Dabangg 3 title song -- trying to rake up once more the old controversy over the particular scene, following which a Hindu outfit and sections of social media had sought cancellation of the film's censor certification because they felt the sequence insulted Hindus.
The makers of "Dabangg 3" had tweeted a few days back to assure that they were voluntarily removing the sequence from the title track.
A user posted an image showing some men and a Shiv Lingam -- shot from an angle that seems to suggest that a man is standing on top of the idol, thereby insulting the deity. Ostensibly clicked at a set of the film, there is no way to prove legitimacy of the shot.
On the other hand, many fans came forward to defend Salman.
The actor, on several occasions, has asserted that he is both a "Hindu and Muslim", and that he doesn't believe in judging people on the basis of where they come from or their religion. Some users posted his quotes as evidence.
"Salman Khan respects all religions and he always teaches his fans to respect all! We Salute you Bhaijaan," one posted, while another wrote: "Every year Salman celebrates all Hindu, Muslims and Christians festivals. He believes and respects all religions. For him Nation comes first."
"In my opinion #SalmanKhan, Dabangg, is a true most secular Indian, I have never seen someone so caring and compassionate about our motherland and it's people," posted another user.
A segment of Salman fans cited the difference between Salman and Akshay by claiming that Salman respects all religions and Akshay doesn't.
For Akshay, it all started with the release of the second trailer of "Good Newwz". In the clip, a man says "Mere Bache ka naam Hola Ram hai kyunki vo Holi pe paida hua tha", to which Akshay replies "Acha hua apka bacha Lohri pe paida nahi hua". This didn't go well with Twitter users who believed that abused Lord Ram.
"Salman removed the scenes from his movie when he came to know that some Hindus have problem with it. Whereas Akshay Kumar is insulting Hindus since many years in his movies," one wrote, while another said: "This Canadian Akshay Kumar has insulted Hindu religion many times, Sikh festivals and Indian national flag but still no one will raise their voice against him. Why? As an Indian it's our duty to teach him a lesson."
"Hypocrisy of so called "protectors of religion" exposes here. They will target only Salman Khan for no reason but when Akshay Kumar cheaply degrade Hindu religion/god, then they will keep silent. Shameless," posted one user.
Another wrote: "Dear #AkshayKumar you are Canadian citizen and we don't have problem with it. But how dare you to abuse Indian religion's and Hindu gods of India?
We Indians will not tolerate it at all."