Perhaps I should not be saying this. But you asked for this. Don’t get me wrong, I know how you feel right now.
Your face-saving intrepid declaration of ‘Incredible India’ notwithstanding. It’s not just the face of India’s tourism that has gone from your hands. From what I hear, the television show Satyamev Jayate which patented your connect with India’s consciousness has also been called off.
Nationalism is no more your chosen domain of altruism. Matters of the state never should be the concern of entertainment icons. It’s like Prime Minister Narendra Modi being asked to comment on the cinema of Vishal Bhardwaj. Not everyone is Shatrughan Sinha. He can straddle the world of cinema and politics without losing balance.
You’ve lost balance every time you’ve gone political.
Remember Narmada? I am sure Medha Patkar is no longer on your speed dial.
Remember Anna Hazare? When you broke your fast in public with poor Anna saheb (where is he these days?), you broke your fans’ faith… fast.
And now the ultimate ignominy: To be shown the door so unceremoniously for what you thought was a valid observation on the uncertain state of the nation. You must have been as shocked by the backlash as some of your colleagues and supporters within the entertainment industry who have taken to Twitter to express their solidarity with the ghayal superstar. Not Sunny Deol, but you, Aamir.
While sympathising with the embarrassment you have to face for your wife’s travel plans (which you should not have revealed without her permission, and I shudder to think what she must have done when you went home after that damaging summit confession), I have to say it was very myopic of your politically-correct supporters to be outraged at your ouster.
It’s really very simple. If you or your wife think India is not safe for your child — and I’d like to believe you share her opinion on matters as grave as the cost of onions and the price of shooting your mouth off — then how can you invite people from the outside to come to our country? I remember how the British beauties Elizabeth and Sue fell in love with you in Lagaan and Rang De Basanti respectively. They loved how your character fought the British invasion.
In real life, it’s somewhat different. You may argue that the confession of Kiran’s secret fears was an unguarded spontaneous moment. But that’s the thing. Iconic figures are not allowed the luxury of slipping up. Imagine the late Mother Teresa yawning while the Pope was lecturing. Or Lata Mangeshkar dozing off when the President is conferring the Bharat Ratna on her.
You, Aamir, allowed your guard to fall. You were actually taking the public into confidence when you shared your spousal anecdote with the public. It’s like a boys’ night out when after a few drinks everyone makes jokes about their respective missuses. How were you to know it would backfire so badly? An iconic celebrity like you can’t carry the baggage of domesticity on a public platform. Think of Dev Anand as the tourist guide in Vijay Anand’s classic Guide. What if he had a squabble with Rosy in the morning and then took it out on the firangis who had come sightseeing to India. Would they ever return?
How could you be the poster boy of Indian tourism when you say your wife wants to stay in another country? This is not a reversible endorsement arrangement whereby Maggi gets maligned and then cleared. Maybe Madhuri would like to go back to noodle recommendation, if she likes. No one will mind. But this is about the image of the nation.
But look at the brighter side. Suddenly, the sympathy vote is with you.The wounded superstar-victim being punished for his wife’s exasperated declaration.
This is quite a favourable image boost for you. If not Indian tourism, you can certainly be the brand ambassador for a brand of pressure cooker.
After all, jo biwi se karey pyaar woh Prestige se kaise kare inkaar?