Facing backlash, will Deepika work with #MeToo accused Luv Ranjan?
Last Saturday, media channels reported that Deepika Padukone is likely to do Luv Ranjan's next, and ever since then a particular hashtag, #NotMyDeepika, has started trending. Why? Because, Deepika, a vociferous #MeToo supporter, might collaborate with a director named in the movement, and this has hurt her fans. Many have called her hypocrite, while some have urged her not to sign the dotted line.
Let's roll back a bit. Last October, Bollywood was hit by a tornado named #MeToo, and many names - Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Sajid Khan, Kailash Kher, Vikas Bahl, Anu Malik - were mentioned. Luv's name also found a way in it when an anonymous actress alleged that he had asked her to strip down to panties during the audition of Pyaar Ka Punchnama.
The victim however didn't resort to any legal route, while Luv found support in Nushrat Bharucha, his actress in highly-chauvinistic films, Pyaar Ka Punchnama, its sequel and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. Coming back to his next, apart from Deepika, it will also feature Ajay Devgn, Ranbir Kapoor, Nushrat and probably Alia Bhatt. While Ranbir and Ajay are already aboard, Deepika hasn't signed yet.
Notably, Deepika is the only one facing the backlash, and no such hashtag has been directed to either Ajay or Ranbir. While Ajay, who had vowed never to work with any accused, worked in Luv-produced De De Pyaar De, which also had Alok, Ranbir has worked with another #MeToo accused Rajkumar Hirani. He has also remained mum about this movement since its start.
Deepika, meanwhile, has always spoken out about #MeToo in general and against sexual harassment women face. She had said last October, "For me, #MeToo movement is not about gender. It is about the victory of right over wrong." Even last December, at Rajeev Masand's actresses roundtable, when Rani Mukerji said martial arts should be made compulsory, Deepika asked why should it come to that.
So now when paparazzi spotted Deepika leaving Luv's home with Ranbir recently, indicating a possible partnership, Twitterati exploded. One tweet read: "When you work with an abuser, you not only nullify the attempts of the survivors to finally achieve some justice, you also stain your own legacy as well. You'll lose respect and credentials as an artist, Deepika Padukone. Don't do this."
Why would u even go to discuss a script with that man? #notmydeepika— Lifathon! (@Reachout786) July 22, 2019
Being her fan for so many years, i’ve constantly seen her live upto her words.She’s not said one thing done another or gone back on her words.I really really hope it remains the same.@deepikapadukone Pls don’t ruin the reputation trust that took years to built. #notmydeepika— Sanaya (@shahsanaya11) July 20, 2019
So Ms Deepika Padukone is basically going to capitalize off survivors of violence against women by doing a feminist film (Chhapaak) while working with people accused of sexual assault irl? I'm fuming. #notmydeepika— Archisha🌹| Emmylia Clarke FTW (@Archisha17) July 20, 2019
Given the wave, whether Deepika finally does the film or not is a question for later times. But this fraternizing way of Bollywood is however expected and not the least surprising. Bahl, another #MeToo accused, found his name reinstated as Super 30 director after an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) cleared his name, albeit without following proper procedures. He also attended Farah Khan's party recently.
The party also had several female celebrities, who often speak about how the industry should stop attacking women, in attendance. All of them stood cozily to Bahl, and smiled all-teeth-out. Hrithik Roshan, who once had spoken out against Bahl, leading to his removal from Super 30 team, also posed happily with the disgraced director at Farah's party. Twitter was furious then too.
However, pretentious Bollywood couldn't care for all these. Because, it's an industry where everything is for show, even protests. It's an industry where no one wants to offend the other and where if you've support, you can walk scot-free. That's why Alok Nath, who appeared in De De Pyaar De, faced outrage, but Nana Patekar was cleared of all sexual harassment allegations. How disappointing!