The past few weeks have been tumultuous for the citizens of this country. While we were still reeling from the protests and divisive politics of the CAA, NRC, and NPR, Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University fell victim to what was noticeably an orchestrated armed attack.
The events snowballed into reigniting the outbreak of protests which grew manifold ever since. Several who were still silent for whatever reasons finally stood up. For this conceivably was the last straw.
Among those who solidified their stance against the establishment was Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone. Two days after JNU was attacked by a large group of masked individuals, Padukone showed up at the protest in the university campus. She silently stood behind JNUSU president and the major mobilisers of the movement cementing her solidarity with the victims of the attack — and obliquely her stance against the CAA & NRC.
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@deepikapadukone stands with JNU// Finally!!! One more woman from the Bollywood fraternity shows spine. We thank you for finally standing up! . . . . .#makeinindia_Now_rapeinindia#chowkidarchorhai #bjpkmkb #bjpdeshdrohi #bjpdeshkidushman #bjpgundokiparty #bjphataodeshbachao #bjpsebanksbachao #modichorhai #narendramodi #rahulgandhi #owaisi #amitshah #devendrafadnavis #nitingadkari #shantidhariwal #ashokgehlot #ashokgehlotprideofrajasthan #sachinpilot #boycottgodimedia #mediawalebjpkechamche #bjpenn #congress #bsp#arvindkejriwal #aamadmiparty #kejriwal
Soon after her bold statement, the internet foreseeably became a cesspool of trolls calling to boycott her upcoming film (which also happens to be her first venture as producer). Worse still, were the self-righteous pop culture expositors labelling this as a ‘cheap PR stunt’ or promotional activity. To that I’d say, even if this were one, we’re all for it.
In fact, as a promotional exercise, it would end up doing more harm than good, like is evident with the trending hashtag #BoycottChhapaak.
Never Seen #DeepikaPadukone Visit URI Martyr’s family— Pushpendra Kulshreshtha (@iArmySupporter) January 8, 2020
Never Seen Her Visit Pulwama Martyrs
Never Seen Her Visit Kashmiri Pandit family
Yesterday’s Visit Was A Cheap Publicity Stunt. #boycottchhapaak #TanhajiChallenge #BharatBandh2020 pic.twitter.com/uJyXjpEgz0
Peel through the layers of her ostensibly manufactured public image and still what she did matters. Especially in a fight for the greater good of our world as we know it, the ‘why’, ‘how’, and ‘when’ are frivolous concerns in front of ‘what’ she ended up doing — aligning herself with the movement in a way that she could. And as people who are for the movement, this must be applauded.
In a world where silence is no longer an option, every little contribution to the movement counts. And there’s no right or wrong way to show support. Especially in a fight for our freedom to be who we are we shouldn’t be nitpicking about how someone chooses to show solidarity. What matters is that they did. Someone may choose to make memes, someone may choose to protest, someone may have mustered up the courage only in the last minute and that’s all okay.
Especially with a celebrity of her status who has the power to mobilise her loyal fanbase. Think of the average movie-goer who would now at least learn and think about the political machinery of this country only thanks to her representation.
Over the past few years, as we’re inching towards totalitarianism, the internet is becoming murkier by the day. Especially if you’re a woman — worse still, a woman with an opinion.
Deepika have explained it that taking selfies with PM is totally different from being a true Indian by standing for the oppressed against masked and unveil them … Let all other actors do the same .. #ISupportDeepikaPadukone pic.twitter.com/niKqCOGFJP— Fan_Fg1 (@Fan_Fg1) January 8, 2020
Deepika Padukone herself has been the troll army’s focal point and on one occasion has even had a bounty on her head for Padmaavat. Despite experiencing the gruelling minefield that is saffron backlash first hand, she fearlessly stood her ground. And that in itself is commendable — PR stunt or not.
In a world where a once vocal Amir Khan gets silenced into public mutism, we need more Deepika Padukones who can step up and take a stand for the greater good. Thank you, Deepika for being brave when we needed you to be.