Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub: Deepika Padukone's presence took the discussion to a bigger level
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub dismisses the idea that Chhapaak's box-office fate suffered due to Deepika Padukone's JNU visit praises her for taking a stand.
No sooner did Chhapaak register underwhelming numbers at the box office, than buzz was that the film bore the brunt of Deepika Padukone's political stand — if the actor was applauded for standing in solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, a section also criticised her for the visit and started the #BoycottChhapaak movement.
However, actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub — who has been at the forefront of the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests — says it was brave of Padukone to look at the bigger picture than be driven by the prospect of her then-upcoming production. "When I went to places like Jamia [Millia University] or Shaheen Bagh, people told me 'Aapke aane se hamein confidence aaya ki hum sahi kar rahe hain.' If my presence gives them so much faith, [one can imagine the impact] of Deepika's presence. When she stood with the students, many of the privileged people who were ignoring the issue until then, had to look at it. [Her presence] took the discussion to a bigger level," he says, before adding, "I don't know whether the boycott affected Chhapaak's business. Maybe making money was not the [sole] intention; maybe the makers wanted to tell someone's story."
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
The studied silence of Bollywood's bigwigs on the CAA has not escaped his notice. "Not taking a stand right now shows that you are privileged; it could be because of your money, fame, or religious identity. If somebody wants to enjoy that privilege, they have the right to do so."
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