KARACHI: A lot of us are fairly disappointed with the way Bollywood stars have chosen to either stay silent or side with the oppressors in a fascist regime. Kashmir lockdown, the Citizens Amendment Act, use of violence on civilians, attacks on students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University- the list can go on. And extremely influential celebrities, who talk about peace and love for all, have clearly taken sides. Either, they have praised their government for inciting war with Pakistan, such as Priyanka Chopra who tweeted “Jai Hind” when India carried out a surgical strike on Pakistani territory. Or they have stood next to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a time when he is being criticized globally for being a warmonger.
Perhaps what’s worse is that countless others have chosen to stay silent, to protect their privilege and their careers and that includes all the Karan Johars, Kapoors and the Bhatts. But merely a few days before the release of her film Chapaak, which she is also the producer for, Deepika Padukone did the unthinkable and made an appearance at a student rally, led by JNU students.
She even met with a severely wounded Aishe Ghosh, president of the JNU students’ union.
A quick recap: JNU students are protesting against an attack on them by masked suspects who are allegedly being linked to a student group, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). These masked goons stormed into the university and brutally attacked scores of students and teachers with sticks, sledgehammers and rocks on Sunday, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Even Bollywood star Bhumi Pednekar echoed Deepika’s sentiments and offered support on Twitter.
This is a huge deal because Deepika Padukone has put her career on the line by doing this, as can be seen with the way the hashtag #boycottDeepikaPadukone started trending on Twitter, right after she was seen at the protest. However, Indian Twitter is divided between those who are calling Deepika an ‘anti-nationalist’ for standing with JNU students, while others are encouraging the move and rallying support for her upcoming film.
A senior journalist from India, Abhimanyu Mathur took to Facebook to write about how Deepika first educated herself about the JNU crisis, formed her own opinions about the matter, and then simply showed up to the rally without informing the media and without taking center stage.
It takes ovaries of steel to be a woman, and to make yourself vulnerable to attacks like this. Hoping to see Deepika Padukone break even more barriers!