Two days after the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University were brutally attacked by a violent mob on January 5, actor Deepika Padukone visited the campus as a show of solidarity with the students. The actress who was in town promoting her upcoming movie Chhapaak decided to show up and join the student protests.
Although she did not address the crowd at the university, she met with the students who were attacked, including JNU students union president, Aishe Ghosh. According to sources, the Padmaavat actor arrived at the campus around 7:30 pm on Tuesday, attended a short meeting, and left after interacting with the students.
Several prominent personalities from Bollywood have condemned the violence at JNU by speaking out on social media and attending protests in their city, including Anurag Kashyap, Swara Bhaskar, Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chadha, Vishal Bhardawaj, and Zoya Akhtar to name a few. However, Deepika is the sole individual from the industry who actually visited the campus--showing us that actions speak louder than words.
Unsurprisingly, her visit trigged off extreme reactions from the public. While many people lauded Deepika for doing the right thing, several people, including BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, called for a boycott of her films. He tweeted "RT if you will boycott movies of Deepika Padukone for her support to #TukdeTukdeGang and Afzal Gang."
Two hashtags simultaneously started trending on the micro-blogging website: #ISupportDeepika was used by those who praised the actor for standing with the students, despite the repercussions she might face. The other hashtag, #BoycottChhapaak was used by those against her actions, calling for people to boycott her movies to 'teach her a lesson'.
789 universities in India ..— Vinita Hindustani🇮🇳 (@Being_Vinita) January 7, 2020
She didn’t choose an IIT to discuss any innovation to help girls’ safety
She didn’t choose a medical university to gain better treatments for acid-throw victims
She chooses JNU where leftists who want to break India dominate! #boycottChhapaak pic.twitter.com/tIug0R4iUt
We haven't watched movie in cinema since my elder daughter was born. 9+ years.— Amit Tyagi (@hiambuj) January 8, 2020
- I shall watch #Chappak in cinema with family
- I shall sponsor 50 tickets for any NGO working with poor children or elder homes.
DM me, anyone who works with them.#ISupportDeepika https://t.co/TbF0yzCFJx
Actor should be activist, otherwise how is she/he actor?— SUNIL KUMAR (@politics4youths) January 8, 2020
Mad respect for Swara Baskar,Anurag Kashyap,Deepika Padukone and so many.#ISupportDeepika
Definitely,I will watch CHHAPAAK in theatre. pic.twitter.com/4UZTcIJGRm
#IsupportDeepika for doing this despite her having a film releasing in 2 days. Knowing very well she was gonna be attacked by the trolls. I hope everyone supports her movie wholeheartedly, not just because she supported the students but the movie deserves to be watched. pic.twitter.com/mWhvzmYtVi— Versatile Fan (@versatilefan) January 8, 2020
Several celebrities who have been continuously voicing their opinions against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the violence in JNU have come out with wholehearted support for the actor. Several took to Twitter to laud her for her strength, including Bollywood biggies like Anurag Kashyap, Nikkhil Advani, Richa Chadha, Sobhita Dhulipala, among others.
As producer today @deepikapadukone would’ve been standing in the preview theatres in Mumbai waiting to hear praise being showered on her maiden production. She instead chose to stand in solidarity with #JNUstudents knowing fully well the ramifications of her actions. #RESPECT— Nikkhil Advani (@nikkhiladvani) January 7, 2020
Full support and thanks to @deepikapadukone for showing courage that a LOT of people from Bollywood don't.— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) January 7, 2020
Those downtrending #Chhapaak, you have already lost! Your petty hatred CANNOT stop brave women! #ChhapaakIsABLOCKBUSTER ! Mark my words, and trend THAT!
It is incredible to see people of the film fraternity give a damn and take a stand.— Sobhita Dhulipala (@sobhitaD) January 7, 2020
Respect to every person who is making this choice.
Although Deepika did not address the students at JNU, she later spoke to a media channel about her visit and explained how she faced the same issue when right-wing groups in Rajasthan incited violence against her movie Padmaavat.
"What I wanted to say I said it two years ago when Padmaavat was released. What I am seeing today, it pains me. I hope it doesn’t become the new normal. That anyone can say anything and they can get away with it. I fear and I'm sad. This is not the foundation of our country," she said.
Speaking about the violent attack on the students at JNU, she said, "I am very angry at what is happening but it is worse that no action is being taken."
If there is one group of people who were grateful that someone with the influence of a massive star like Deepika was supporting them, it was the students of JNU.
JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, who was brutally attacked and has sustained a head injury, said, "When you are in a position, you should speak up.” Former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and former JNU student leader Umar Khalid also took to Twitter to thank the actor.
I hope each and every one in this country speaks up against the injustice that students in campus spaces are facing. This is not what we want our University spaces to turn into. We demand the immediate removal of the Vice Chancellor.#JNUVCMustResign https://t.co/wT3hFnBs6O— Aishe (ঐশী) (@aishe_ghosh) January 7, 2020
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
Thank you @deepikapadukone for standing up for students and youth against fascist bullies.— Umar Khalid (@UmarKhalidJNU) January 7, 2020
The times they are a changing!
Khan uncles, agar zameer zinda hai, to ab to kuch boldo @iamsrk, @aamir_khan, @BeingSalmanKhan https://t.co/E1nIdxLg1W
Meanwhile, on the work front, Deepika's movie Chhapaak is set to hit theatres on January 10.
We're proud of Deepika for taking this courageous step, and we hope other powerful celebrities follow suit!
Featured Image: Twitter