Deepika Padukone polarised opinion and split social media down, right the centre with her appearance at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) amid the horrific attacks on students and teachers there. Needless to say, her silent appearance has divided people, based on their ideology. While many in the film fraternity like Anurag Kashyap and Dia Mirza are openly praising Deepika Padukone for her visit to the lately-vandalized Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) in Delhi, others are not so happy with what they see as the visit being timed with her new release Chhapaak that hits the theatres this week.
Deepika Padukone in Chhapaak
So, was the visit heartfelt or meant to make a Chhapaak (splash) on the eve of her release? Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, known to be a diehard supporter of the Establishment seems to think it’s a publicity gimmick. Vivek, predictably, lashes out, “Deepika is guilty of reducing such a sensitive and real issue of acid victims and women empowerment to dirty campus politics. By standing with a small section of anti-India students she has sent a message that she doesn’t support 98% hard working, middle class, non-elite students who work hard to build a #NewIndia.”
Trade expert Amod Mehra agrees, “Time and again it's a proven fact that actors don't know anything about politics. So it's best for them to stay away from it. Having not learnt from history, Deepika ventured into the forbidden territory with the sole purpose of promoting her film, which is totally unethical and needs to be condemned.”
Deepika Padukone Attends JNU Protest
However Deepika’s fellow-actors Shabana Azmi and Dia Mirza - known to be anti-establishment and standing by the liberal side of things - are all praise for what they see as her exemplary courage. Says Shabana, “She did it with quiet grace and I am very proud of her. When she was attacked over Padmaavat, very few came forward to support her. She knows what it feels to be targeted and she has shown exemplary courage to support the JNU students . More power to her.” Adds Dia Mirza, “So proud of her! And so so grateful. May you she continue to walk her truth.”
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta is all praise for Deepika. "I thought she was brave at a time when doing the right thing is often seen as a sign of being anti-establishment or as some loosely say 'anti-national'. Her visit has earned my respect."