Shah Rukh Khan and Mahesh Bhatt advocated the need to celebrate the diversity in the country at the inauguration of Kolkata International Film Festival.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt on Friday advocated the need to celebrate the diversity in the country.

“We are living in a dangerous time… when we are the most divided. That’s why we need storytellers who can tell stories that will bring us together,” Bhatt said during the inauguration of 25th KIFF on Friday.

Echoing him, Khan said, “Like Bhatt saab said we need stories that will bind us together, bring us together and celebrate the diversity, instead of questioning each other’s individuality.”

Bhatt also raised his voice against the imposition of one language on others in an apparent support to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s call for equal importance to all regional languages.

“Everyone must be allowed to speak in their mother tongue,” Bhatt said, a day after the CM spoke in favour of all regional languages after Centre allowed Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main to be held in Gujarati, besides Hindi and English.

“As long as filmmakers and artistes are there, we will dare to resist those who tell us to speak only one language,” Bhatt said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had in September spoken in favour of Hindi as a unifying language for the entire country.

Bhatt, however, did not name Shah or any politician. Quoting Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Sister Nivedita and Swami Vivekananda, he further said, “Ramakrishna Paramhansa said we must speak to every man in their own language. Paramahansa gave words of hope and encouragement even to the most degraded and uplifted them. We must follow in his footsteps and love them. This is the voice of Bengal, …the great seers and sages of this country, who said for God’s sake, speak to a man in his own language, don’t impose your language on him.”

On the occasion of ‘Hindi Diwas’ in September, Shah Rukh had said efforts will be made to expand Hindi’s reach to different parts of India.

On Tuesday, the Chief Minister accused the Centre of being bias against regional languages in conducting JEE Main and announced her party Trinamool Congress’ plan to hold state-wide protests against the move on November 11.

The TMC supremo is up in arms against the Centre over inclusion of only the Gujarati language in the JEE Main held for admission to engineering colleges.

She had claimed states were not consulted about it, a charge dismissed by the National Testing Agency, which conducts the examination.

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