By showing her support to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has found herself in the middle of a political quagmire between BJP and Congress -- two bitterly rival political parties of India.
As the BJP leaders continue to attack Deepika Padukone for visiting JNU on Tuesday, a competition of sorts has started in Madhya Pradesh between the BJP and the Congress over her new film Chhapaak, set to be released on Friday.
Chhapaak is the first film produced by Deepika Padukone, in collaboration with Fox Star Studios. It's the story of a young woman trying to rebuild her life after a man throws acid in her face on a public street in New Delhi in 2005.
While the BJP leaders are distributing free tickets of Ajay Devgn's "Tanhaij: The Unsung Warrior", so that it can beat Deepika's film, "Chhapaak" has been declared tax-free in two Congress-ruled Indian states -- Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Twitter users linked with the ruling party also called for a boycott of the film, urging the users to watch Ajay Devgn's film instead.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders started distributing free tickets of Chhapaak, supporting Deepika for showing solidarity with JNU students.
Shashi Tharoor on Congress distributing free tickets to Chhapaak
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday backed his party colleagues offering free movie tickets of Deepika Padukone-starred Chhapaak, saying it was their gesture to support the actor for showing her solidarity with JNU students.
The Congress does not want that the movie be boycotted by the BJP as a "punishment" for standing with students, the Hindustan Times reports quoting Tharoor.
"So, we are showing solidarity to her by giving tickets to college students. We do not want anyone to be boycotted because of showing courage to stand with the students," he said in a press conference.
A section of BJP leaders, including South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri, have given a call to boycott the movie after Padukone made a surprise visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University on Tuesday to express solidarity with students attacked by a masked mob.
Delhi Congress leaders arranged a special screening of the movie for students in Daryaganj area here on Friday. "We bought all the 920 tickets of the 2-pm show. Around 800 students watched the film. Deepika stood with our students. Now it is our turn to support her," Congress leader Alka Lamba said.
The movie has been declared tax-free in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
'Inspires us all': Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan
Backing Deepika Padukone, former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said the actress' silent protest against JNU violence as also Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa doing his duty impartially despite harassment to his family, showed that for some people, truth, freedom and justice are not just lofty words, but ideals worth sacrificing for.
In a blog on Linkedin, Rajan said the news of a gang of masked assailants breaking into one of India's leading universities, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and then going on a rampage for hours, attacking students and faculty, entirely undisturbed by the police, is "worrisome".
Without naming Padukone, who has won both bouquets and brickbats for her silent protest by meeting victims of the attack on JNU, he said despite putting attendance at her latest movie, 'Chhapaak' at risk, the actress "inspires us all to take stock of what is truly at stake."
Rajan said it is elevating to see "young people of diverse faiths march together, Hindus and Muslims arm-in-arm behind our national flag, rejecting artificial divide stoked by political leaders for their own gain." "They show that the spirit of our constitution still burns brightly," he said.
Deepika Padukone knew she stood with people who wanted India destroyed: Smriti Irani
Minister in the Union Cabinet of India Smriti Irani said Deepika Padukone must have known she was choosing to stand with "people who wanted the destruction of India" when she visited Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) this week, reports India Today.
"I think that anybody who has read the news knew where they were going to stand," Irani said at a recent event.
"[They] knew that they're going to stand with people who wanted the destruction of India," she added.
"Tactics To Scare": Actor Varun Dhawan
Actor Varun Dhawan has backed Deepika Padukone amid calls to boycott her film "Chhapaak" after she visited Jawaharlal Nehru University in solidarity with students protesting against a masked mob attack on Sunday, reports NDTV.
"The 'boycott' word was used for my film 'Dilwale' which I did with Shah Rukh Khan. For "Padmaavat" too 'boycott' was used. These are the tactics to scare," Varun Dhawan told NDTV.
These tactics, Mr Dhawan said, stop powerful businessmen from airing their opinion publicly as they don't want their businesses to be hurt.