Deepika’s decision of siding with JNU students has led to a tepid opening for her movie & has also led to her losing millions in brand endorsement deals. Was it really worth it?
There are some who would want you to believe that there is nothing called as bad publicity. Any form of publicity, be it good or bad is good for the brand. Sadly that is not the case with Bollywood’s biggest female superstar – Deepika Padukone.
Deepika Padukone – is at the very top of bollywood’s pecking order. Just her name is enough to pique audience interest in a movie. She enjoys a loyal following among the movie going audiences. She has built a fan following thanks her superlative performances in several movies. She is one of the few actresses who is renowned not only for her beauty, but also for her acting prowess. Cocktail, Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Piku etc are movies in which she contributed majorly towards its success. This coupled with her always in the news – love life has turned her into a bonfide super celeb. But her move to side with the army bashing, separatist loving JNU students has caused a huge dent in her box office clout & her fan following.
The students of JNU have been protesting against the current dispensation, after the passage of the CAA. The protest gathered further steam when citizens, students across several cities across the country joined in. Many bollywood celebs, especially the left leaning, Modi hating celebs too fervently joined in & urged citizens to hit the streets. Farhan Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, TV star Sushant Singh were some of the most vocal critics of the act.
The government on the other hand made it amply clear that they will not be backing off from implementing CAA-NRC. The western media on the other hand painted the government as islamophobes.
While the protests in December, they turned violent in Delhi. This led to Delhi police beating the protestors – most of whom were JNU students. This led to several more bollywood celebs to speak out against the police for beating up the protestors. At this juncture it must be noted that Deepika chose to not speak her mind. She did the usual movie celeb routine of attending TV reality shows, talk shows etc. It was during this phase that she her video with Hrithik Roshan went viral. It was all good. She was making the right noises, which was translating into curiosity around her upcoming movie.
We wonder what went through her mind, when on that fateful day, just a few days before her movie was about to release, when she decided to stand besides the JNU protestors, who had been subjected to violence at the hands of masked people. It was alleged that the masked people were ABVP(BJP’s student wing) members. Her move shook the nation. On the face of it, she must have thought that her supporting a woman who was the victim of assault who bode well for her movie which dealt with the same topic. But she underestimated the power of the right wing.
Her move lead to a furore. Right wing social media handles wasted no time in pledging the boycott of all her movies. Several whatsapp forwards which spoke about her & her husband – actor Ranveer Singh’s closeness to a Brit- pakistani businessman, who is alleged to have funded the protests started making the rounds. The trade too called it a publicity stunt. It seems she underestimated the wrath of PM Modi’s followers. It was stupid of her to overlook the fact that PM Modi is a hugely polarizing figure. While many abuse him & hate him, there are millions who swear by him.
The other bollywood superstars were shrewd enough to not openly take on the government. While Alia Bhatt, Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chaddha took a stand against the act, none had movies up for release. The male superstars – Aamir Khan & Shahrukh Khan, who have faced the wrath of the right wing too stayed away from the issue. It is rumored that some superstars promised financial support to protestors, in terms of legal fees, hospitalization charges etc. But none openly took on the government.
As expected the movie opened to a tepid response. The trade believes that considering that her movie dealt with a rather dry topic, she should not have risked the movie’s fate by associating herself with such a contentious issue. Rather no celeb should indulge themselves in politics, as they have fans on both sides of political ideologies. The movie has turned out to be a damp squib at the box office. Deepika, being the producer must have lost out on a lot of money.
Deepika’s act of taking one a popular government, which recently won a landslide mandate at the elections held a few months back was a blunder. While she has lost millions of fans & money in terms of brand endorsements, a few hits is all that will take for her to regain everything. Thankfully for her public has a woefully short memory.
Image Source: HT