Actor Sai Pallavi on Saturday said her recent remarks drawing a comparison between the Kashmiri Pandits’ genocide in the 1990s and recent mob lynching incidents were taken out of context.
The 30-year-old actor is currently in the middle of a controversy for remarks that she made during an interview to a Telugu YouTube channel ahead of the release of her film Virata Parvam.
Pallavi, who works in the Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film industries, shared a video on Instagram to clarify her comments and said her intent was not to belittle any tragedy.
“In a recent interview I was asked if I was a supporter of the left or the right wing. I clearly stated that I believe I’m neutral. We need to be good human beings first before we identify ourselves with our beliefs. The oppressed need to be protected at any cost,” she said in the video.
The actor said she saw filmmaker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files three months ago and was disturbed by the “plight” of Kashmiri Pandits shown in the movie.
“I remember telling him (Agnihotri) that I was disturbed seeing the plight of the people at that time. And being someone that I am, I would never belittle tragedy like the genocide and the generations of people who are still affected by it,” Pallavi added.
At the same time, the actor said she “could never come to terms with the mob lynching incident during Covid times” and was “shaken” by it for days.
“I believe that violence in any form is wrong and violence in the name of any religion is a huge sin,” Pallavi said.
In her comments during the interview, which has also reportedly landed the actor in legal trouble in Hyderabad, Pallavi had talked about The Kashmir Files and compared it with the recent incidents of lynching of suspected cow smugglers.
“The film, The Kashmir Files, shows how Kashmiri Pandits were killed. Recently, there was an incident of a person being killed for carrying a cow because he was suspected to be a Muslim. After killing the person, the attackers raised ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. Where is the difference between what happened in Kashmir and what happened recently?” she had said.
In her clarification, the actor, known for films like Premam, Maari 2 and Shyam Singha Roy, said it was extremely disturbing to see many people justify the mob lynching incident online.
“I don’t think any of us have the right to take another person’s life. Being a medical graduate, I believe that all lives are equal and all lives are important,” the actor added.
Pallavi further said she hopes that in future no person in the country has to be “scared of his or her identity”.
“I hope a day doesn’t come when a child is born and he or she is scared of his or her identity. And I pray that we are not heading towards that, at least. Fourteen years of my life, my school life, I remember everyday going to school and chanting, ‘All Indians are my brothers and sisters…
“We as children would never differentiate each other based on culture or caste or religion. So anytime I speak, it comes from a very neutral ground,” she added.
Pallavi went on to express disappointment over the relentless online trolling she was subjected to following the interview.
“I was very surprised to see that whatever I had spoken was taken in a completely different way.”
The actor also thanked those “who stood by me in the last few days”.
“I felt like they knew me for who I am. So thank you so much for making me feel like I wasn’t alone,” she said.