Tuesday evening saw the social media being blown away by Deepika Padukone -- and not due to her immense beauty or exemplary act in a movie. Her photos at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, one of the epicentres of the ongoing protests, were a welcome change for the cinegoers -- who have now become accustomed to not spot mainstream stars at nationally important agitation.
Deepika is no stranger to protests and virtuals threats -- thanks to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat'. She knew the depth of low to which the social media bigots could stoop after her JNU visit. But even then, she stood in solidarity with 'urban naxals', quietly diving into unwarranted hatred and abuse.
Deepika greeted severely injured JNU Students' Union president, Aishe Ghosh before standing behind student leaders, including Kanhaiya Kumar, as he chanted his famous ‘azaadi’ slogan. She knew that her presence at JNU will be accompanied by superfluous prime time debates and #Boycott trends on Twitter.
Actress @deepikapadukone at #JNU to express solidarity with students and teachers after Sunday's violence.
He meets JNUSU President @aishe_ghosh with folded hands in JNU! @ReallySwara@anubhavsinha @anuragkashyap72 pic.twitter.com/AqHK8Px23j— Fahad Ahmad (@FahadBombay) January 7, 2020
It is now only a coincidence that her visit fell three days before the release of her upcoming movie 'Chhapaak'. Or not?
A section of the social media later even called the surprise visit a part of promotional strategy for the film that raises an important issue -- acid-attack.
There's no doubt that Deepika has been conveniently mum during the Kashmir shutdown, and even when the nation raged with mob-lynching cases. Her silence when police went on the rampage at the Jamia Milia Islamia also irked many. But isn't it better late than never?
She is not Swara Bhasker, Dia Mirza or Richa Chaddha. But why are we even comparing? Every voice counts and one can't ignore the fact that her small presence at the protest site would have influenced many -- and as Sayani Gupta tweeted, her presence gave the movement a mainstream narrative.
Would she have come down to JNU if not in the city for her promotional spree? Definitely not.
But isn't it praiseworthy that at least she did? She could have conveniently got done with her interviews and flew back to Mumbai. Would it have made any difference? Clearly not.
Thinking of the worse, her PR might have come up with this idea, and she might have nodded in approval. But we have to agree that with her mere ten-minute presence at JNU, she stands to derive less, and put more at stake.
Why do you think the other mainstream stars, primarily the male superstars, have never even tweeted on the issue?
Stakes have always been high for Bollywood celebrities as crores ride on them. With her money on 'Chhapaak' (she is also the producer), Deepika knew that her move would give an opportunity to jobless vandals to wreak havoc on theatres. What would she do if single-screen theatres and even multiplexes stop its screening?
More power to you @deepikapadukone and thank you for your solidarity and support. You might be abused or trolled today, but history will remember you for your courage and standing by the idea of India. pic.twitter.com/q9WkXODchL— Kanhaiya Kumar (@kanhaiyakumar) January 7, 2020
Will JNU students come to rescue? No!
It will cause her huge financial loss, but she seemed ready for it.
Jobless vandals are larger in number than the students of JNU, AMU, Jamia, and Jadavpur University, etc combined. And only support of the students community cannot make 'Chhapaak' a hit.
It takes guts to stand against the suppressor. And Deepika Padukone, a female superstar, coming to the forefront is the hope and strength the nation needs right now.
Our only advice: Oh dear male superstars, please take the hint.