The spectre of ‘religious intolerance’, which has captured the imagination of many over the past few months, raised its ugly head once again when actress Soha Ali Khan, the daughter of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore, was targeted by a few trolls for her secular beliefs recently.
Soha Ali Khan, who will be next seen playing a Sikh housewife in upcoming dramatic thriller ‘31st October’, recently had a harrowing experience when she was trolled on social media for visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Plus, a few days back, her pictures at a Ganpati pandal also invited criticism by some people, who felt that she was being ‘disloyal’ to her religion. To make matters worse, her trolls also passed sexist, insensitive and derogatory comments about her gender and her marital life (Soha is married to Kunal Kemmu, a Hindu, which has also not gone down well with some right-wingers), which were in extremely bad taste.
However, not to take this lying down, Soha, who comes from a fairly liberal family background, lashed out at the trolls and said in a statement,
“My religion is my business alone. Whether I choose to do namaz or go to a church, how does it affect anyone? People shouldn’t bother about what’s not their business. I am all for freedom of expression, but being told how going to a temple makes me a non-Muslim is plain callous. No one has the right to say that. I am not a commodity and so, a particular community cannot own me. Our social fabric is so rich because we are diverse. Respect each other’s choices. That’s the culture India signifies, not the one of hatred that people commenting on my timeline are trying to propagate. I try not to be affected by it and frankly, as long as no one is coming into my private space or harming me physically, I don’t care. But those who are desperate to have an opinion on my life, at least try to have an educated one.”
Harry Sachdeva, Producer of “31st October” also weighs in,
“Festive season teaches us love, brotherhood and celebration. When I talk about respecting religions and humanity, I act upon it, this should not invite extremely derogatory comments made upon Soha and her personal life. The real shame should be upon those who abuse the respect and who use derogatory language for women. If you don’t agree with her, then don’t but that gives you no right to abuse and vilify Soha for promoting humanity and respect for all religions.”
Produced by writer-producer Harry Sachdeva and Magical Dreams Productions Pvt Ltd, co-produced by Anand Prakash, directed by National award winner Shivaji Lotan Patil, and released by Panorama Studios, ‘31st October’ is a thriller about a Sikh family trapped in a riot-prone area of New Delhi during the anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
‘31st October’ is slated to release on October 7 this year.