Deepika Padukone has inflamed a section of Twitter users after she chose to make an appearance at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday after many students of the Delhi varsity were assaulted in an armed attack by a mob.
Padukone was filmed meeting the JNU student union president Aishe Ghosh and stood stoically as former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar raised slogans, decrying the government and its policies, including the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) as well as the National Population Register (NPR).
“I feel proud about it that people are coming out—be it on the streets or wherever they are—they are raising their voice and expressing themselves as it is important. If we want to see a change in life and society, it is important that a point of view be put forward," she later told
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Padukone’s decision has raised the hackles of a section of Twitterati, which has decided to boycott her soon-to-be-released film "Chhapaak."
This is not the first time that a film has been boycotted on Twitter but historically the call has had the opposite of the desired impact, with several of the films chosen for the embargo treatment having gone on to do record business at the box office.
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The Aamir Khan starrer, which released in 2014, was seen to be anti-Hindu. However, the movie based on an alien’s visit to planet Earth and his views on religious practices of mankind, went on to become a blockbuster hit, doing record business.
It was the highest-grossing Bollywood film in the year of its release.
Dangal (Total collection: Rs 1,957 crore)
Khan was in the spotlight again two years later, this time for his wrestling-based film "Dangal". In November 2015, Khan had plunged headlong into the intolerance debate in the country and posited that there was a lack of forbearance to opinions and practices from the other side. His comments were deemed “anti-national”, and boycotting “Dangal” was reckoned as an appropriate response. Except it backfired, quite spectacularly.
The film has done exceptional business since its release and holds the top spot in the list of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time.
Veere Di Wedding (Total collection: Rs 125 crore)
In 2018, the outspoken Swara Bhasker was singled out for her activism and the comedy "Veere Di Wedding" was chosen for the embargo treatment to no avail.
Bhasker has been one of the most vocal Bollywood actors and has against taken the lead in criticism of the controversial amended citizenship law.
Padmaavat (Total collection: Rs 560.8 crores)
"Chhapaak" isn’t the first time Padukone is facing the ire of a disgruntled Twitter base. She was in the spotlight during the release of "Padmaavat" in 2018 and was singled out for ostensibly uncharitable portrayal of the mythical Rajput queen Padmavati. Only this time the vitriol wasn’t just kept at an economic boycott of the film but it became vilely personal with the overzealous Mahipal Singh Akrana, president of fringe group Shree Rajput Karni Sena, putting a bounty on her head.
She kept her head and emerged with deeper pockets once the rage had quieted down. "Padmaavat" ranks seventh on the list of all-time highest-grossing Bollywood films.Padukone must be quietly smiling about the boycott of "Chhapaak".