Bollywood is finding a voice. This is good news HT Editorial – editorials
Two days after masked majones attacked students and professors at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, actor Deepika Padukone visited the campus to join a protest against violence. Although he did not address the meeting, his presence sent a powerful message. The image of Bollywood’s leading female star behind Kanhaiya Kumar, the former leader of the JNU Student Union (JNU) accused of sedition, and Aishe Ghosh, the current president of JNU, who was brutally attacked and charged with an earlier case of vandalism or, even when they chanted anti-government slogans, it was hugely symbolic.
While many, particularly supporters of the government, saw in Ms. Padukone’s visit a publicity stunt before a film premiere, this is incomplete. In fact, by partnering with JNU, which is the subject of polarized opinions, he risked alienating a group of his admirers. It has also risked antagonizing the current regime. He has also jeopardized his career, risky projects, as producers and distributors are careful not to be on the wrong side of those exercising power. And he’s risked vicious trolling, as you can see in the social media attack against him.
But this is not just about Mrs Padukone. He is one of the growing people in Mumbai’s film industry, generally known for its silence and lack of commitment to contemporary political concerns, which have taken a stand on recent issues. Regardless of political affiliations, the fact that these citizens, who send huge follow-ups, have faced violence, and by equality and justice, must be applauded. His interventions have enriched democracy.