Yesterday, the entire social media went abuzz with reports of Deepika Padukone visiting the JNU for showing ostensible solidarity with the student protests. Soon, after a few images of her presence at the Central Varsity went viral, she got the kind of publicity she would have just wanted. Ideally, what deserved nothing more than a casual reference suddenly became a national issue.
Interestingly, Spice PR, which has managed Aamir Khan’s ‘intolerance remark’ in the past and is currently managing clients like Farhan Akhtar, who was present at the anti CAA protests and his elder sister, Zoya Akhtar, who too was present at the Mumbai protest for JNU, also manages Deepika Padukone’s PR campaign. The Bollywood actress is bracing up for the release of Chhapaak, a movie that based on the story of a 2005 Acid Attack victim. It is going to release on Friday, that is, January 10. And Spice PR distributed her picture from the JNU protests on Tuesday, that is merely 3 days before the release of her movie- clearly a PR stunt for the movie that is about to release.
As soon as the association of Spice PR with Deepika Padukone was revealed on social media, there were insinuations of her presence at the JNU being a mere publicity stunt keeping in view the promotion of her upcoming flick. Such suspicions have got stronger as a superficial, planned marketing campaign has taken off on Twitter. Several Twitter handles are using the same photograph in an attempt to eulogise Deepika Padukone, and to promote the upcoming movie by eulogising her as “Woman of steel!”.
All these Twitter handles have posted identical tweets hailing Deepika Padukone for her participation in the JNU protests, and also carrying the poster for her upcoming movie, Chhapaak.
Now, it is clear that her presence at JNU was not a show of dissent, rather it was a mere political stunt that formed part of a well thought out marketing strategy for her upcoming flick. All these tweets seem to be a part of a paid marketing/ PR campaign for her movie that is going to release this Friday. This is how they are trying to trend the hashtag “#ISupportDeepika” on Twitter. This is condemnable and insensitive not only because it has the potential of misguiding the youth on the sensitive issue of JNU violence, but also because this marketing campaign is being run for a movie which is based on the sensitive issue of Acid Attacks, and is based on the story of a 2005 Acid Attack victim.