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Should Salman Khan have performed at Samajwadi Party's Saifai Mahotsav?

Shomini Sen shominisen

Updated: January 9, 2014, 3:26 PM IST
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Social media is abuzz with criticism for actors Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit for agreeing to be a part of the opulent Saifai Festival in Uttar Pradesh at a time when the state government is facing major criticism from all quarters for shutting down relief camps for riot victims in Muzaffarnagar

The SP government, according to this report, spent around Rs 20 crore to make this ostentatious event a success. Special flights were chartered from Mumbai and Delhi for the event and a very star- struck SP government regaled as Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Mallika Sherwat and a few Bollywood starlets performed at 5 hour long event in the sleepy town of Saifai.

While the SP government has received a lot of criticism for the event, many on Twitter also criticized A-list stars Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit for agreeing to be a part of the show. Many stated that as a superstar, with a huge fan following, Salman shouldn't have agreed to be a part of the show to show solidarity to riot victims. Many even started a hashtag (#BoycottJaiHo) demanding a ban on Salman's film which is scheduled to release in theatres later this month.

The festival, which is in its 15th year, has in the past seen top Bollywood celebrities performing each year at the event which reportedly celebrates and promotes art and culture. Of course, in the garb of promoting folk artists, every year SP spends crores of rupees on Bollywood stars who perform for 2500 odd people.

But is it right to blame the actors for the shameless show of wealth that SP has indulged in? Why do the artists have to take a high moral ground on the matter? Wouldn't it be better to cancel the show altogether than rather criticizing artists for agreeing to be a part of the show. Agreed, as stars who have huge fan following, their actions leave an impression. But as professionals, they were offered money to perform at an event and they treated it as just that.

Usually the one to keep silent, Madhuri Dixit took to Twitter to defend their decision to perform at the Mahotsav and wrote, "As artists and celebrities, we believe in using our reach to help others through drawing attention to the needs of the day.(sic)"

"For UP, on behalf of the artists who performed at Safai, Being Human is donating Rs. 25 lakhs to Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College(sic)," Madhuri further added.

If anything that needs to be boycotted or banned, it is the festival itself. At a time when hundreds are stranded and without a home in this biting cold, the insensitivity of the government has been highlighted in more ways than one. But let's not curb artists and their freedom to choose where they wish to perform. Let's not get judgmental and tell them where they are wrong and turn around and spend Rs 10, 000 on a wild night out ourselves.

We are all, at the end, arm chair thinkers and it is the easiest is to criticize people for their action. Yes, we do have the right to have our opinion on matters but blaming Bollywood for partaking in a crime at every juncture isn't the right way to go forward, perhaps.

First Published: January 9, 2014, 3:26 PM IST

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