The Shrey Bhargava vs ABTM4 producers saga is possibly the most discussed issue in Singapore this past week.
And also possible the most divisive issue.
Now, police have stepped in to question Shrey over the intentions of his online outburst about racism during an audition for Ah Boys to Men 4.
Yesterday, he was interviewed by police officers at Tanglin Division.
Shrey revealed that he was made aware of police reports that were lodged after the post went viral, but he was “not informed for what or by whom, that was kept confidential.”
Last Saturday, Shrey criticised ABTM4 producers for asking him to act out a scene during his audition in a “more full-blown Indian” capacity.
Angered by this, he posted a photo of himself in a Singapore army uniform on Facebook and added a lengthy post on how he felt the audition smacked of racism.
Since then, many have accused him of playing the race card, and of being a hypocrite since he has personally mocked other races in similar fashion in the past.
Many others have also stood by him, saying that he has raised the issue of “casual racism” in Singapore and is doing his part to break stereotypes of Indians here.
Shrey revealed that police officers told him “not to worry about anything as I had done nothing wrong”, and that he was advised him to “be cautious about what I post online as people may misinterpret me and my intentions to my detriment”.
ABTM4 producers have since issued a statement saying that the “full-blown Indian” role was one of several roles Shrey was asked to adopt for the audition.
The producers said that the persona of the character Shrey was auditioning for hasn’t been decided, and the intention of the variety of personas was to gauge Shrey’s versatility as an actor, and to leave headroom for any ideas that might spark regarding the character.
However, Shrey has accused the producers of lying.
“This is not true. I was asked to do the scene only twice. The first time I did without direction. The second time, I did after being given the direction ‘be more Indian’ and to do it again as a ‘full-blown Indian man’… The J Team’s statement has misrepresented the facts… It has painted me in a damaging and deceptive light. It seems as though I over-reacted, or worse, that I lied.”
“Instead, they defined for me what being Indian ought to mean and that is the crux of the matter… What did they mean by “Be more Indian”? Do they have a premeditated idea of what it means?… And why is being ‘more Indian’ supposed to be ‘funny’?”