Deepika chose to visit JNU and that’s what matters
On Tuesday, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone visited the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus to express solidarity to the students who were protesting against the brutal attack unleashed on the students and teachers by a masked mob on Sunday.
Deepika was in town for promotions of her movie Chhapaak, which is slated to hit theatres on Friday. She reached the Sabarmati T-Point in the university where a public meeting was being held at around 7.30 pm on Friday.
She did not address the crowd. But was seen standing with the protesters when former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar was speaking. Deepika spoke to some student leaders including Aishe Ghosh, the present JNUSU president who was injured in the Sunday’s attack. Deepika left the protest venue after about 15 minutes.
Ever since the news and photos of Deepika came out, Internet has been flooded with hashtags and messages, both supporting and opposing the actress.
While many hailed the action of the actor as brave, many called it out as a PR stunt for her upcoming movie.
Whether a promotion stunt or not, the visit matters mainly because Deepika and her team very well knew of the consequences of her action especially with her movie in which she has invested a lot of money and effort scheduled to release after two days.
Ever since the visit, many hashtags have been trending including #boycottchhapaak and #boycottdeepikapadukone.
The actress had seen it coming but still she chose to be there, with the protesters at JNU. At a time when the big sharks of Bollywood are keeping mum on what is happening around, an actress who we have never seen making any political statements in public till date, went out there to express solidarity to the students.
Be it a PR strategy or not, one of the leading actors of Bollywood, Deepika Padukone chose to be at JNU protest venue and it matters.
Other celebrities from Bollywood including Sonam Kapoor, Tapsee Pannu, Swara Bhaskar and Anurag Kashyap had taken to social media and voiced their support to the protest against JNU violence. But that was expected of them. We have seen them protesting earlier too gainst the police brutality in Jamia Millia Islamia when students protested against Citizenship Amendment Act. But we never expected it from Deepika, who mostly chooses to be diplomatic and reticent and who uses her words carefully in public.
Deepika very well knew the amount of hate and abhorrence she would face for her action. Even with her film at stake, she chose to be there.
For women social media is a battlefield. Many nameless and faceless handles shower abuse, hatred and threats of rape and murder on a post for no reason. Has that not crossed Deepika’s mind? Off course it did. But, Deepika chose to stand with those protesting at JNU.
Her social media accounts are already flooded with messages ‘boycottdeepika’, ‘shame on you’, ‘join the tukde tukde gang’.
At a time when the Khans and Bachchans and others chose to remain silent on a safe route, Deepika, you made a powerful statement with no word uttered.
PR or not, she was there and it matters.