Will Deepika's JNU support backfire on 'Chhapaak'?

Will Deepika's JNU support backfire on 'Chhapaak'?

Chhapaak, featuring Deepika in the role of an acid attack survivor, is a crucial release for her as she has produced it in collaboration with director Meghna Gulzar and Fox Studios. (Credit: Twitter)

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone will soon be seen in the eagerly-awaited Chhapaak, slated to arrive in theatres on Jan. 10, 2020. On Tuesday, mere days before the film's release, she visited the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi and silently expressed solidarity with students who were attacked by masked men on Sunday. 

Shortly after photos from her visit went viral on social media, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena founder Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga asked his supporters to boycott the Piku star's upcoming movies.

Following this, several Twitter users, with right-wing ideas, asked movie buffs to #BoycottChhapaak while slamming Deepika for supporting the 'Tukde Tukde' gang. Along with that, #BoycottDeepikaPadukone started trending on Twitter, with people bashing the Bollywood actress using the hashtag. 

Here are some of the tweets:

Chhapaak, featuring Deepika in the role of an acid attack survivor, is a crucial release for her as she has produced it in collaboration with director Meghna Gulzar and Fox Studios. Given the high stakes, this negativity is not a positive sign as it might take a toll on the movie's box office performance. 

While it remains to be seen whether Deepika's decision to support the JNU students backfires, the fact is that Bollywood A-listers have in the past paid a price for upsetting the right-wing. 

In 2015, Shah Rukh Khan landed in trouble when a certain section of the society urged fans to #BoycottDilwale as they were upset with the actor's comments on 'religious intolerance' in the country. Organisations, such as the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), demanded a ban on the film's release and staged protests in various parts of the country. 

While the Rohit Shetty-helmed biggie opened well, the protests eventually caught up with it and the collections took a beating. Later, SRK himself admitted that the action-comedy could not live up to expectations due to the controversy. 

"The film's performance has been impacted in some parts of the country. But I can't understand why people are upset with something which aims at spreading happiness,” he had told the media.

Similarly, in 2006, Aamir Khan stirred up a controversy when he backed the Narmada Bachao Andolan and criticised the Gujarat government's handling of the Sardar Sarovar Dam project. 'Mr Perfectionist' also said that the government needed to rehabilitate those displaced because of the project. Following this, Fanaa was 'unofficially banned' in the state with multiplex and cinema owners refusing to screen the film, fearing protests from the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. 

Coming back to Deepika, Chhapaak is not the first time she is facing the wrath of the right. Her 2018 release Padmaavat too ran into trouble as the Karni Sena demanded a ban on the magnum opus, claiming that it hurt the sentiments of Rajputs. 

Some leaders even issued threats to the actress, ruffling a few feathers. Political parties took differing stands on the issue, which put a question mark on its release. The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-helmed movie eventually hit screens after the Supreme Court cleared all hurdles, emphasising the importance of 'freedom of expression'. Upon release, the period-drama exceeded expectations and received rave reviews from movie buffs and critics alike.

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