Amidst the ongoing wrestlers' protest in the capital, there has been growing criticism directed towards Bollywood actors for their apparent silence on the matter. These wrestlers began the protest on April 23, demanding the arrest of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, on grounds of sexual harassment of female athletes, including a minor.
As shocking photos and videos of detained athletes went viral, social media users expressed their disappointment and slammed these actors for prioritizing other topics while ignoring the wrestlers' protest. Twitterati accused Bollywood stars of exploiting the wrestlers' stories for financial gain and called for their support during this critical time.
One Twitter user specifically addressed Aamir Khan, stating, "Dear Aamir Khan @AKPPL_Official, you profited off their story with Dangal, isn't it time to stand up and help the same wrestlers?" The tweet highlighted the irony of Bollywood celebrities capitalizing on the success of movies based on the lives of these athletes but failing to extend support when they actually needed it.
Another frustrated user expressed, "Can't see our wrestlers suffering like this.. Bollywood gets box office collections by making movies on them but when they actually need help..can't see any biggie helping! #wrestlerprotest". This tweet emphasized the perceived hypocrisy of Bollywood stars, who readily take on projects inspired by the lives of Indian sporting stars but remain silent when real-life struggles occur.
The criticism extended beyond Aamir Khan to include other actors such as Priyanka Chopra and Parineeti Chopra. Social media users questioned their absence during the wrestlers' protest, given their involvement in movies based on Indian sporting stars. One user noted, "Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Parineeti Chopra... all have run to play roles in movies based on stories of Indian sporting stars. Where are they now? Priyanka had also spoken out for Black Lives Matter."
Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar also faced backlash for their posts celebrating the inauguration of the new Parliament building, while staying silent about the ongoing protests outside. Disappointed fans took to Twitter, with one expressing, "Shah Rukh Khan tweeted for the new Parliament but no support for our champion wrestlers." The actors' social media activity drew criticism as people questioned their priorities and perceived indifference towards the wrestlers' struggle.
Talking about the protest, in response to the protests, the Delhi Police issued a statement saying, "A case has been registered against wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and other organizers of the protest. A few wrestlers had come to Jantar Mantar at night to protest; they were denied permission and were sent back." The statement highlights the legal consequences faced by the wrestlers and organizers, underscoring the challenging environment in which they are fighting for their cause.
As fans and social media users continue to express their disappointment, it remains to be seen whether these actors will address the criticism and extend their support to the wrestlers' cause.