Several Bollywood celebrities were not seen at an event hosted by Union Minister Piyush Goyal and BJP vice president Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda at Mumbai’s Grand Hyatt Hotel on Sunday evening to discuss “myths and realities” linked to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA. The invitation said the event would be followed by a dinner.
Among those who showed up at the meeting were filmmakers Ritesh Sidhwani, Bhushan Kumar, Kunal Kohli, Ramesh Taurani, Rahul Rawail, Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshi, singers Shaan and Kailash Kher, composer Anu Malik, and actors Ranvir Shorey and Urvashi Rautela. Mainstream Bollywood chose to stay away.
Through the day, there was speculation about many others like Javed Akhtar, Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann Khurrana, Raveena Tandon, Boney Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Madhur Bhandarkar attending the meeting, but none of them turned up.
“I was expecting more members but the idea is not if big stars come or not, the idea is to clear the confusion. The purpose of this meeting was to have a dialogue and clear the air around the CAA because a lot of misinformation is leading to protests across the country,” said a guest who attended the meeting, asking not to be identified.
Actor Richa Chadha and filmmaker Kabir Khan – who were seen at different protests against the CAA in Mumbai – were invited, but they did not attend the meeting.
Swara Bhasker, Anurag Kashyap, Sushant Singh and Nikkhil Advani who were at various protests and have been vocal about their views against the CAA did not receive an invitation.
The invitation read, “The agenda of the meeting will be to facilitate a discussion on myths and realities pertaining to the Citizenship Amendment Act.”
A source inside the meeting told NDTV that the government will hold many such meetings in the future and this is going to be an ongoing process to clear the myths over the citizenship law. This was the first such meeting for members of the entertainment industry.