Pakistani Showbiz

Here’s what Saif Ali Khan has to say about Sonu Nigam’s Azaan rant

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Needless to say, Sonu Nigam’s rant against azaan last week shook up much of Bollywood.


Perhaps his words were taken out of proportion, who knows? But Indian media has been ablaze since they were uttered, with many notable figures either supporting or admonishing the renowned playback singer for feeling “disturbed” in the morning by the call to prayer.

The latest to comment on the matter is none other than Bollywood superstar Saif Ali Khan, who happens to be Muslim himself. In a recent interview with The Indian Express, the actor opened up on the debacle and Islamophobia in general, explaining that the amplification of sound during azaan stems from insecurity.
On some level, I agree with Sonu… the lesser the sound, the better. There should be only certain decibel levels allowed across different religious practices,” he said.

“But the amplification of azaan comes from insecurity. As a minority, you would like to make your presence felt and hopefully, accepted. If someone says that it should be extinguished, then that’s bound to make you uncomfortable. It’s fine to express your views on a certain decibel level but I did think Sonu’s tweets were a bit aggressive, initially. Religion is a private affair and India should be a secular country.”

“Let me tell you one thing,” he continued, commenting on Islamophobia across the world. “There is no such thing as Muslim or a Jew, etc. We’ve created this construct of a Muslim and given it certain characteristics, that he does this or that. But we are individuals. Our views will be different, even on religion. It’s scary when we are all are called ‘the Muslim’ because it implies we all have the same beliefs and characteristics that can be easily summed up.”

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Saif is of the opinion that religion, in general, should adapt to the changing times. “What we need is to create so the religion can fulfill the need of the hour; that may not be the old one anymore,” he opined. “With science and philosophy advancing in this century, religion is no longer the centre of our lives.”

According to Saif, freedom of speech is just as important but those exercising it ought to be careful. “Freedom of speech is one thing but at the same time, people will kill you if you abuse their religion,” he added. “Sitting in the comforts of our living rooms, things are different. In reality, various worlds intersect across India.”

Any discussion on freedom of speech would be incomplete without at least a mention of social media. Naturally, the ever-eloquent Kal Ho Naa Ho star gave his two cents on the impact of Facebook and Twitter on everyday human life and whether they should even be there or not.

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“I think there is indeed a basic advantage to social media. Twitter, for example, should be about spreading the news. But unfortunately, it’s become about becoming the news,” stated Saif. “Initially, when someone criticises me on social media, I think it’s coming from a spiritual and intellectual equal. But then I realise maybe not. And I’m not interested in the opinions of faceless, nameless people; I don’t want their approval. The fame these people get over Twitter is a surrogate of stardom and comes from a comment on another celebrity. It’s not real talent being sold.”

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