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“I don’t know politics, and I realised that, after having won an election, I was not qualified” says Amitabh Bachchan
Mumbai: “I believe in some kind of a force which is a spiritual force that guides us. I will not say that I am not religious, I am. But I will not flaunt my religion on the street or in an interview. I am ok with it within the four walls of my home”, Amitabh Bachchan told Al Jazeera English at their show ‘Talk to Al Jazeera’.
Speaking on Al Jazeera English, when asked about his disliking the term Bollywood and if so, Why? He said, “Well I think the Indian film industry has its own identity, Its very individual and I don’t see any reason why it should be compared to another name from another part of the world but that’s the way it goes some smart journalist coined the name and now it is in the Oxford dictionary so it’s going to be there for eternity now.
When questioned about the reality that the film industry, the entertainment industry, it can be very superficial and times and certainly it gives and creates great wealth and privilege for some people, How do you go about reconciling that with the fact that there is lot of poverty in the world, especially in your country India. That must be quite hard when you actually look at it like that? He said, “I think there are deficiencies in every nation in the world, we are conscious of it, we try to do as best as we can, there are many institutions, many NGOs that work towards various social causes, I’m involved in several of them and I think we are all very committed and are aware and to say that just because you’re un an industry which is presuming that this industry is wealthy and therefore we don’t do anything for them is a fallacy, I think that all of us are involved in many such associations which work for the poor people as well. They appoint celebrities from the Indian film industry to be involved in campaigns which are perhaps health oriented. I myself am United Nations Ambassador for Polio, we fought for eight years and finally now India is now polio free. I’m involved in the eradication and awareness of tuberculosis, which has just been started. I will be doing hepatitis which is also a very dangerous element and I’m involved with awareness of diabetes which actually has started from London, it is the right honorable Keith Vaz, member of parliament is heading that and we work together so we keep doing these acts. I worked for save the tigers, past two years we were down about a thousand four hundred and eleven tigers and just a week ago they’ve done a research and found that the numbers have actually doubled so one feels very happy when things like these happen. I don’t really know how we can relate to every subject that needs attention but I think it’s suffice to say we are aware of it and conscious.”
When asked about the misogynistic attitude towards women prevalent in certain areas in India and obviously the world has been very shocked by the recent rape and murder of several women, high profile cases. The movies that you star in do tend to have the most amazingly stunningly beautiful women who seem unattainable, they are flirtatious they can be tantalizing. Is there a sense that Indian men are influenced in their attitude towards women by what is portrayed in the movies, do you think? He said, “That would be a misconception, film is a 20 centaury phenomenon but to say that all these horrible acts never existed before that would be wrong, whether it is violence whether it is sex or whether it is rape, but yes we have a very pertinent censor board, we have guidelines that we follow and if there is anything that we feel is perhaps is going to be damaging for the society we take corrective measures but if would be wrong to say that we are not cautious of the fact of women and I don’t think there is misogynistic attitude at all, we have women directors, we have stories that are woven around central character which happens to be a woman, there are many issues of say untouchability, of cast, creed, religion that are always looked upon in a very compassionate manner. I would not agree with this, if it’s an accusation I would not agree with this because we are cautious of it and I think we have the liberty of communication that has increased over the past 10-15 years, a lot more effort is being made, also the reverse happens a lot of people get to know of things which perhaps would have gone unnoticed, not to say that it’s good but I o feel that because of the factor of television being so prominent, we have 800 channels in one country, it sometimes is difficult to contain the content and perhaps it gets a little more advertised than it should be.”
Tune into Al Jazeera English on Saturday, 28 February 2015, 10:00:00 IST | Sunday, 1 March 2015, 14:00:00 IST | Monday, 2 March 2015, 20:00:00 IST