Feb 2/10

SRK stands by IPL remarks, says India a welcoming place


Under attack from Shiv Sena for his remarks on the IPL fiasco, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, on Tuesday, said he was not apologetic
for favouring the inclusion of Pakistani players and termed the activities of the party as "undemocratic".

Standing by his comments, Shah Rukh asserted he believed that every Indian would agree that India is a "good country" and that "everyone is welcome as a guest", but at the same time said too much importance was being attached to the words of "just an actor".

"It makes me feel that activities like this are unhealthy, undemocratic, its insensitive but this is the world is and you can only say what you believe in and stand by it and hopefully I will have the strength to do so," Khan told reporters when asked about the Shiv Sena protests back home.

"As an Indian I'm not ashamed, guilty or unhappy about what I said neither am I sorry," he said.

Following the IPL snub, Khan who is also the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders franchise, had spoken against ignoring the Pakistani players and said he would take in cricketers from across the border if his team had an empty slot.

Shiv Sena activists reacted angrily terming it an issue of patriotism, burnt the posters of his upcoming film 'My Name is Khan,' and took their protest to his bungalow in Mumbai.

The party has threatened to not allow the screening of the film, unless the actor apologises.

"Shah Rukh should go to Pakistan if he wants to speak in favour of Pakistani players," said Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab as protesters displayed a 'ticket' from Mumbai to Pakistan.

Senior party leader Manohar Joshi said: "This is the issue of patriotism and Shah Rukh should not interfere in politics".

Far from the unfolding drama, Khan said his comments were made from the standpoint of an Indian and he believed tensions on the border should not be turned into personal hate.

"Whatever I said, which has created an issue... I said it because I am an Indian... I think that every Indian would say the same that we have a good country and that everyone is welcome as a guest," the actor, here to promote his upcoming film, said.

"Every country has tension on its borders but for that tension we can't teach our children and young people the wrong thing... X is wrong, Y is bad and C is dirty," he added.

It was a busy day for Khan and his My Name is Khan co-star Kajol in the Big Apple as they began their morning by ringing the NASDAQ bell and went into a torrent of press conferences with the Indian and international media to speak about their upcoming film.

Journalists, however, were keen to discuss the controversy brewing at home to which Khan asked why his remarks were attracting so much attention.

"I'm not a politician, I'm not a radical... I'm just an actor and I say a lot of things and many times people take it rightly or wrongly but its not to be paid so much attention to."