Bollywood director Hansal Mehta today came out in support of JNU students agitating against alleged branding of the varsity as "anti-national" even as he cautioned them that "azaadi" comes with responsibility.
"I want to tell all of you that I am with you. Your freedom is important for you but it comes with a responsibility. I hope whatever you will do will be with a responsibility," Mehta said while addressing the students at the administration block, which has been the venue of protests ever since JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested in a case of alleged sedition.
Mehta, along with actor Manoj Vajpayee, was in the university for the screening of the controversial 'anti-homophobia' film "Aligarh" at JNU's School of Arts and Aesthetics.
The acclaimed movie is based on the life of an AMU professor Ramchandra Siras who was suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation. He later committed suicide.
Addressing the students at the screening, Manoj Bajpayee said "when I was doing this film I was not enacting his role. In fact, I was celebrating his life and death through my performance."
"Shyam Benegal once said that the homosexuality is more welcomed in small cities and towns than the big cities. I myself am from a small village. I had many friends and teachers who were homosexual," he said.
Mehta had yesterday announced in a Facebook post about the movie's screening at JNU.
"No better place to have conversations on society, politics and our film than this hotbed!," he had said.
JNU is caught in a row over an event on campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which "anti-national" slogans were allegedly raised.
While Kanhaiya was released on bail earlier this week, two other students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya are also in custody in connection with the case.