Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, who commented on "rising intolerance" in India, has now said he was misquoted by the media. On Monday, the actor told reporters in Mumbai he loves India and has never thought of leaving this country.
While celebrating the 10th anniversary of "Rang De Basanti", Aamir said he was "born in India and will die here".
"I love my country, I was born here and I will die here. I have never thought of leaving India and will never take such a step," Aamir told reporters, according to IANS.
"I never said India is intolerant or I want to leave the country. These two things have been said to everyone. So, obviously, people will get hurt and I understand their emotions. I am not surprised they are angry with me. But, there is no truth to this all," the 50-year-old actor said.
"I want to clear this; I have never said India is intolerant. Our country is diverse with so many languages, culture. No other country has so much diversity as India and that's the strength of our country. But, despite this strength, if anybody tries to break us, that hurts me. Let's not make this country weak. Let's not spread poison and let's live together," he added.
In November last year, he said his wife Kiran Rao feared for their child due to the rising intolerance in India. She even said the rising intolerance had prompted her to consider leaving India.
"Kiran and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time she said, should we move out of India? That's a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet," he had said during the eighth edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards.
His comment was widely criticised, with politicians calling for a ban on his movies. Several Bollywood celebrities, including Anupam Kher and Raveena Tandon, had also slammed the actor on Twitter for his comment. The "PK" actor was also removed as brand ambassador of the Incredible India campaign after his comment, but the government later said it was because its contract with the ad agency running the campaign starring Aamir Khan was over.
The actor blamed media for misquoting him on his comment and said it was they who twisted his words.
"I love my country and I'm not able to live more than two weeks out of the country. I get homesick. I was hurt and along with me many people have been hurt because of this misunderstanding. I give this credit to you all (media) because you all have twisted my words. I request you all that please don't do this," he said.