Let us ask ourselves an honest question. Turn the tables hypothetically. Imagine there was a Congress government at the helm. Imagine that the media, the intelligentsia and institutions such as JNU were dominated by the right. Now imagine that the not-so-carefully orchestrated spectacle that we are witnessing was being put together by the right-wing ecosystem. The supposed issues were different, perhaps even the opposite. Do you think Deepika Padukone would have given it a miss?
She would have been there, very much. Let us not delude ourselves. Her presence has nothing do with any ideology or any issue. This is an industry of, by and for the dumb. Their understanding of anything that remotely requires any grey matter is superficial at best. They are driven by a bunch of professionals who understand how money and publicity work, and how to use good looks to that end.
I was surprised when I first heard that she had made an appearance at JNU. The mainstream media has attempted to portray this agitation as having the top artistes and celebrities of this country at the forefront, but as we all know, that is a pile of rubbish. Where are the real stars? Where have the Khans, the Bachchans, the Devgns, the Karan Johars of this world been? All we had seen so far were two-bit sideshows, who were known more in the context of their political activism than their supposed work anyway. The real stars either had real work, or were being advised more cleverly because they had much at stake than a Swara Bhaskar for instance. But all that changed when Deepika Padukone showed up.
She was there barely for a few minutes. She didn’t speak, upsetting those in the ecosystem who could not believe their luck when they saw her there. She has an upcoming film. They all want to become national talking points when they have an upcoming film. The mainstream media is camped at select locations in metro cities at the moment, focussed, running consecutive news cycles of the same idiocy over and over again. The strategic thing to do was to pop up there. The puppet masters probably believed that all publicity is good publicity, and boy did she get publicity.
But here’s the thing. Do you think she has read the CAA? Do you think she is up to date with the various versions of whatever is ongoing at JNU? Do you even think she knows why she was sent there? Most of us are trying to hold her accountable for the wrong thing here. We’re targeting her politics, when there is none. If you want to hold her accountable, the best you can do is accuse her of a cheap publicity stunt and lust for money. And I for one hate being judgemental about either.
To be honest, I’m happy about her appearance at JNU. When her movie ends up making crores and she basks in glory, do you think she will remember the name of that girl with a head injury? Do you think she will come back and stand there with them in solidarity? Do you think she will send thank you notes to the journalists who made a big deal of her appearance?