Swara Bhasker on Deepika Padukone's support: Perception win for students, dissenters
Even as #BoycottChhapaak trends online, Bollywood peers Swara Bhasker, Nikkhil Advani laud Deepika Padukone for throwing her weight behind JNU students.
She may have not issued a media statement during her visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday evening, but as she stood behind JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh, Deepika Padukone sent out the message, loud and clear — she was one with the students. In one swift move, the actor showed that she was not willing to be part of Bollywood biggies' systematically cultivated culture of silence.
JNU alumnus Swara Bhasker, who — along with Anurag Kashyap, Anubhav Sinha, Dia Mirza, Zoya Akhtar, Richa Chadha and Sayani Gupta, among others — has been relentlessly condemning the attacks in the university, applauds the actor's courage. Bhasker says, "It's a huge perception win not just for the protesting JNU students, but also for students across the country, peaceful protesters and political dissenters in India, who have been termed 'anti-national', 'Tukde Tukde gang' and 'urban Naxal'. India's biggest female star put her credibility behind the dissenters. When people like Richa, [Mohammed] Zeeshan Ayyub and me were speaking up for this movement, we were called all sorts of names and slurs. Will they dare to call Deepika Padukone an urban Naxal now?"
As love from the industry and fans poured in for Padukone, so did the hatred. By Tuesday night, #BoycottChhapaak was trending on Twitter as BJP member Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga asked followers to boycott her upcoming drama. If, on one hand, Kashyap lauded the actor for having "negated the fear" in the country, on the other, vitriolic comments flooded Padukone's social media feed.
Filmmaker Nikkhil Advani, who was among the first to mobilise a rally against Citizenship (Amendment) Act, lauds the first-time producer for standing with JNU when she could have hosted a premiere and basked in the glory of her film. "What Deepika did was truly courageous. I respect everyone who has taken a stand, and those who are silent as in the end, it's a personal choice." Ask him if her stand will adversely affect Chhapaak, and he says, "People are free to watch it or boycott it. We live in a democracy."
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