The controversial amendment to the Citizenship Act, which is nearing a month since being enacted, has not only led to massive protests across the country on a daily basis, but has also left the film fraternity divided. The industry, which has often refrained from taking a political stand, has been at the forefront of the debate, with several against while some in support of CAA.
The latest joining those who are against the CAA is Bollywood A-lister Deepika Padukone. Padukone visited the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday to express solidarity with the students who were attacked by a mob. The mob attack came amid continuous protests by several students of various universities including JNU against the CAA.
Deepika stood as former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was raising azaadi slogans. She, however, did not address the crowd. She also met the current JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, who was badly injured in the attack.
"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 told NDTV.
Among those who have been at the forefront of the protests or are against the Act are filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, actors Swara Bhasker, Zeeshan Ayyub, Taapsee Pannu, Dia Mirza, Farhan Akhtar, Manoj Bajpayee, Huma Qureshi, Richa Chadha, Ali Fazal, Shabana Azmi, Kabir Khan, Sushant Singh, and many more.
"This has gone too far.. can't stay silent any longer. This government is clearly fascist .. and it makes me angry to see voices that can actually make a difference stay quiet," Kashyap had tweeted in December. Kashyap has been seen constantly with the protesters in Mumbai and on TV debates.
“As a citizen of this country and as someone who has born
"The NRC-NPR is going to harm everyone because stressing on the Hindu-Muslim aspect only helps the right-wing narrative. They want polarisation," tweeted Bhasker on Wednesday, who too has been active during the protests.
"Growing!!! Who'd have thought... Just when everyone resigned and said what can one person do... this is now a sea of people! We love this country, THIS IS OUR COUNTRY and no one can tell us we don't belong. NO ONE. ???? To hope. Jai Hind, " Richa Chadha had said in one of her tweets.
"If this is what's gonna happen every time a citizen expresses their view, forget #CAB, we should pass a bill and not call our country a democracy anymore! Beating up innocent human beings for speaking their mind? BARBARIC," tweeted Parineeti Chopra after the Jamia incident last month.
Young actors like Vicky Kaushal, Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana too had condemned the violence at Jamia last month when protests turned violent and police conducted lathi-charge and barged into the campus of the universities allegedly firing bullets at the students.
From the South Indian cinema, actors Kamal Haasan, Siddharth and Parvathy Thiruvothu are among the ones who have been very vocal about opposing the Act.
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan-led Makkal Needhi Maiam has filed public interest litigation in the Supreme Court last month seeking a stay on the new amendment.
"These two are not Krishna and Arjuna. They are Shakuni and Duryodhana. Stop attacking #universities! Stop assaulting #students! #JamiaMilia #JamiaProtest," wrote actor Siddharth on Twitter last month.
While Parvathy termed the violence 'terrorism'.
Those in support of CAA are Paresh Rawal, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, producer Ashoke Pandit, actors Juhi Chawla, Tanisha Mukerji, Ranvir Shorey, and director Anil Sharma, among others.
Rawal in December compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Vallabhbhai Patel, independent India's first home minister. According to him, Modi will never let India "disintegrate".
A day after Deepika visited JNU, BJP released a video featuring actors Tanisha Mukerji and Ranvir Shorey, singer Shaan, director Anil Sharma and others, saying, "The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 does not affect any Indian citizen. Watch what the artists have to say about CAA."
In the video, Shaan calls CAA an "inclusive act" which would "give citizenship to persecuted minorities."
Mukerji says she is "very proud and very happy" to be associated with the amended Act.
The video came soon after Union minister Piyush Goyal hosted a dinner for a discussion on the contentious Citizenship Act.
CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi, producers Ritesh Sidhwani and Bhushan Kumar, director Abhishek Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey were among the Bollywood personalities who attended the meeting.
"It was a good meeting. It's great to see the government reach out to clear the air regarding the CAA. We were told that more such meetings are being organised with people from different walks of life. I already had no issues with the CAA and I hope more people are not misled about it affecting any Indian citizen," Shorey told PTI.
Anu Malik, Kunal Kohli, actor Shailesh Lodha, singers Kailash Kher, Roop Kumar Rathod and Shaan were also at Goyal's meeting.
Actor Juhi Chawala attended a BJP event on Wednesday where ‘Kashmir humara hai’ chants were heard. Favouring the CAA, Juhi said, "Everyone is quick to talk about dividing. Why don't we talk about uniting? Why does everyone say 'what is the government doing, why is it doing this?' But I say if you point one finger there then three fingers are at you. What are we doing? Let's be calm, understand the situation."
Amidst the ongoing unrest, bigwigs such as Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have maintained silence on the matter so far.
(With agency inputs)