On Monday, during a live TV debate, senior Bollywood actor Om Puri made a comment that has infuriated a lot of people. Defending Pakistani artistes who have been banned by Indian producers from acting in Indian films until hostilities between the two nations are resolved, Puri made a clear case of why art and war shouldn't be mixed.
During the debate, referring to the soldiers, he said, "We didn't force the soldiers to join the army." "Prepare 15-20 people as suicide bombers and send them to Pakistan," the actor further added.
His comments came in the backdrop of escalating tensions between the two countries that led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray to issue a 48-hour ultimatum to Pakistani artistes to leave the country.
The ban on Pakistani artistes have split Bollywood down the middle. While several Indian artistes, such as Mahesh Bhatt, have spoken in favour of using art to build bridges, many others, including Nana Patekar, have supported the ban.
Puri said Pakistani artistes are not working illegally here and if they are sent back, Indian producers, who have signed them for their films, will suffer heavy losses.
"When the government is taking an action, we all should stay quiet. It hardly matters if we send back the artists from Pakistan, who are working here, or let them stay. I have been to Pakistan six times and have met people from all strata," he told News 18.
His opinion on TV debate wasn't well received on the social media and he started trending on Twitter.
Never thought someone like Om Puri ji would make such a shameful comment. Sad. This is so heartbreaking. pic.twitter.com/lBPrsQLft2— Babu Bhaiyaa (@Babu_Bhaiyaa) October 3, 2016
Nana Patekar rightly said that Bollywood ppl shud not be given importance. Country Comes first. Still we r giving importance to Om Puri.— Amit A (@Amit_smiling) October 3, 2016
lol stopped watching when Om Puri was like "Humne usse force kiya tha fauj me jaane ko?" unreal lol https://t.co/vefLe2Iv6H— Nirzary (@nirzary) October 3, 2016
@Babu_Bhaiyaa om puri abhi abhi pakistan se laute hai... Thoda pyaar jyada mila to bhavuk ho gaye , that's it— Debiting the Credit (@twittiye) October 3, 2016
Very depressing and sad statement by #ompuri ji. Real heroes are the one who fights for the country.— GURU RANDHAWA (@GuruOfficial) October 4, 2016
What a shame Ompuri! Heard him on tv yesterday and I couldn't believe my ears What a disgrace! just lost all respect as an actor. #OmPuri— Malini Awasthi (@maliniawasthi) October 4, 2016
Om Puri played an honest Military Officer in Pukar..Tells a lot abt these Bollywood actors. There's no sync with what they protray on-screen— Aladdin (@Alllahdin) October 4, 2016
Although he did have voices in his favour too.
Jingoists scared to confront terrorist ideology instead demonize 'easy targets' like Salman, Om Puri, Johar to make themselves feel better.— Nehr-who? (@threeinchfooll) October 4, 2016
Why're Om Puri & Salman Khan called anti-national but not Nawaz Sharif's "friend" Sajjan Jindal or Adani who wanted to supply power to Pak?— Aditya Menon (@AdityaMenon22) October 4, 2016
Can people disagree with Om Puri without automatically declaring him anti-national? People can have different opinions; that is democracy.— Rohit Pradhan (@Retributions) October 4, 2016
Puri recently shot his first Pakistani film 'Actor In Law', directed by Nabeel Qureshi and produced by Fizza Ali Meerza, a fact that was brought up by several of his critiques on Twitter.
Watch the debate here:
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