Actor Siddharth Suryanarayan mononymously Siddharth found himself in the middle of a controversy on Monday, January 10, after responding to a tweet of ace-shuttler Saina Nehwal on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security breach in Punjab.
Taking to her Twitter handle, Saina had raised concerns over PM Modi's convoy being stopped for nearly 20 minutes on a flyover in Punjab's Bathinda after the protesting farmers had blocked the road last week.
"No nation can claim itself to be safe if the security of its own PM gets compromised. I condemn, in the strongest words possible, the cowardly attack on PM Modi by anarchists," the 31-year-old badminton champion had tweeted.
Siddharth, known for his bold and unabashed opinions, responded to Saina's tweet and wrote, "Subtle cock champion of the world. Thank God we have protectors of India. Shame on you #Rihanna".
Netizens Fume In Anger
In his Twitter reply, the actor's use of sexual innuendo (or his wordplay for shuttlecock used in badminton) created a stir on Twitter. People called the actor out for his 'sexist' remarks and accused him of using 'derogatory' and 'vulgar' comments.
The actor's colleague and singer Chinmayi Sripaada called the tweet 'crass.' "This is really crass, Siddharth. You just contributed to what a lot of us women are fighting against," he tweeted.
Reacting to Siddharth's comments on his wife's post, badminton player Parupalli Kashyap too took to the microblogging site to express displeasure with sexist remarks.
However, the 'Rang De Basanti' actor later issued a clarification and said that the word 'cock' was used to indicate the 'cock and bull' idiom and had no sexually explicit reference, The Economic Times reported.
'COCK & BULL' That's the reference. Reading otherwise is unfair and leading! Nothing disrespectful was intended, said or insinuated. Period," the actor wrote.
The Cambridge dictionary defines 'cock and bull' as "a story that is obviously not true, especially one given as an excuse".
Saina Reacts To Controversy
Later, Saina herself opened up about the war of words and said that she used to like Siddharth as an actor, but his comments were anything but not something pleasant. "He can express himself with better words but I guess it's Twitter and you remain noticed with such words and comments," she told PTI, as quoted by The Indian Express.
"If the security of the PM is an issue, then I'm not sure what is secure in the country," she said.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma has demanded action against the actor and urged Twitter to block his account for using "lewd and inappropriate" language.
Claiming that the comment outraged the modesty of a woman, Sharma has written to the Maharashtra DGP and demanded an FIR under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).