On January 8, Deepika Padukone stood in solidarity with the JNU students and yet again, I feel we fell into the same binary. The support-Deepika-support-Chhapaak and boycott-Deepika-boycott-Chhapaak kind of takes started making the rounds on social media. Another group saw it as merely a PR stunt.
We are moulded in such a way that we want to see things either as black or white. What sensibility and rationality demand is that we should see her solidarity through every perspective possible.
I feel that the timing of her presence at the JNU campus can be questioned. Hardly three days before the release of her film Chhapaak she appeared on the national arena, skipping several major incidences that have been happening for the last few years.
She didn’t go to Unnao to meet the rape victim but went to meet the president of the Students’ Union of JNU. It is not that I am trying to cherry-pick an incident.
A few months back she was asked about mob lynching and she stayed away from giving her opinion. What she said is this, “Do you believe anything would change? I’m someone who’d like to work in a way I can also see change. We all have perspectives. Just because I’m not voicing it publicly doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion.”
Having said all this, let me put this straight, we can only judge a person’s intention by their actions and words. What lies inside, lies inside. If someone is seen being adjacent to the oppressed, it will ostensibly be seen as a sign of solidarity. For that, we have to applaud her for turning up when most Bollywood stars are playing safe.