Verbal Dual Continues: Now Amitabh Takes on Raj Thackeray


Mumbai, Apr 8: The ongoing tussle between Amitabh Bachchan and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena supremo Raj Thackeray has taken another turn with the Bollywood superstar breaking his silence once again.

In an interview to the tabloid Mumbai Mirror, Bachchan said, "I am not leaving this city and going anywhere. Let them [the MNS] throw bottles and stones. Let them burn my effigies and bring morchas in front of my house -- but I won't budge."

Bachchan's interview came soon after he was attacked by Saamna, a Shiv Sena-owned newspaper, in an editorial. The daily cited the example of Rajnikanth, who was supporting the Tamil cause in the Hogenekkal controversy, despite the fact that he is a Maharashtrian from Karnataka. What had Amitabh done for Maharashtra, the newspaper asked.

Later, however, Shiv Sena head Bal Thackeray disassociated himself from the editorial and wrote that Bachchan is a national star, and should not be dragged into regional controversies. 

"Balasaheb has been a father figure to us and shall remain so. In my growing up years, my parents taught me that when elders speak, the young listen quietly. I quietly accept whatever my elder or his outfit has expressed," Bachchan said.

"I am not an outsider by any stretch of imagination," the actor added. "This land is my land as much as it is for every other citizen of our beloved country. I came to Mumbai in 1968 to pursue a vocation and I did not need a visa to come here.

"I have made this city (Mumbai) my home for the last 40 years," he continued. "I bought my first car here and my own house. I met and married my wife in this city and both my children were born here. My father and my mother spent their last years in Mumbai and died here. They were put to flames here and their ashes have mingled with the earth of this city. This city gave me name and fame beyond anything that I may have deserved or hoped for."

He also said that he is not answerable to anyone. 

"I am a public figure, not a public official. I am not a democratically elected representative of the people, neither do I hold any public office. I am answerable only to the three C's: courts, Constitution and conscience," he said.

So why does he think he's been singled out for the attack on North Indian migrants? 

"Sometimes in life, situations demand the proverbial 'whipping horse'. And there are a few 'chosen' people in this country that fit that bill," Bachchan concluded.

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