New Delhi, Jan 8: A day after Deepika Padukone visited the JNU campus to express solidarity with students who had been attacked, her film "Chhapaak" made another splash on Wednesday over the name of its antagonist.
While Deepika was the focus of many a discussion on social media and beyond for showing up at a public meeting in the university, the film based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, was also making news for quite another reason.
In what could well be a storm in a 'Twitter cup', "Nadeem Khan" and "Rajesh" began trending on the microblogging site after a magazine article claimed the name of the antagonist had been changed. By 4 pm, 'Nadeem Khan' clocked close to 60,000 tweets and 'Rajesh' close behind with 50,000.
In 2005, Laxmi was disfigured for life when a man called Nadeem Khan and three others allegedly hurled acid at her in Delhi's upscale Khan Market.
In the film based on her life, the narrative remains the same but the names have been changed. So, Laxmi is 'Malti' Agarwal and Nadeem becomes 'Babboo' aka 'Bashir Khan'.
On Wednesday, Swarajya magazine wrote an article headlined, "The Ways Of Bollywood: In Deepika Padukone-Starrer Chhapaak, Acid Attacker Naeem Khan Becomes Rajesh'."
"As part of a backlash against Padukone's JNU 'meet and greet', social media users researched the names of the characters involved in the movie Chhapaak and conspicuously found the name of main perpetrator Naeem Khan absent," the article alleged.
But in the Meghna Gulzar directed film, there is no mention of any Nadeem or Naeem Khan. Moreover, Rajesh is the name of Malti's boyfriend.
Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Babul Supriyo jumped into the controversy, saying it was another example of "absolute hypocrisy".
"...When you say all characters are fictitious and don't have any resemblance with living beings and all of that, this is absolute hypocrisy. When you change the name which also changes the religion, it has been done very deliberately," Supriyo told a TV channel when asked to comment on the controversy.
South Delhi BJP MP Ramesh Biduri also called for a boycott of the movie.
With Deepika grabbing attention by going to JNU, many appreciated her 'silent solidarity' but others criticised her for "supporting the Leftists" and said it was a promotional stunt ahead of the release.
"#Boycott Chhapaak" was trending on Twitter as was "#ISupportDeepika".
#Chhapaak trends on Twitter - and no its screen villain is neither 'Nadeem' nor 'Rajesh'.— Radhika Sharma (@KhayalaBibi) January 8, 2020
Unlike the #FakeNews peddlers, I was fortunate to watch a special screening of the film last evening.
Here goes, my report for @PTI_News. https://t.co/HhNIEjRDya
Let the Truth be known. If you read VB and like VB, please be a VB Supporter and Help us deliver the Truth to one and all.
New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday asked why those sitting in power are scared of naming China which has entered Indian territory, and said every Congress worker and every Indian is proud of the armed forces.
Talking to reporters after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also said all Indians should ask the government this Independence Day what it was doing to protect the country and push China back.
In his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the prime minister said India's soldiers had given a fitting reply to those who had challenged the country's sovereignty, from "LoC to LAC". Modi, who did not name China, added that the whole country is united in protecting the sovereignty of the country.
"Each and every Congress worker and all 130 crore Indians are proud of our armed forces and have full faith in them. We salute the armed forces for giving China an apt reply every time there has been an attack. But what about those who are sitting in power. Why are they scared of mentioning China's name?" Surjewala asked.
"At a time when China has entered Indian territory, every Indian needs to ask the government what it is doing to push China back and protect the country. On this Independence Day they should ask this. That is the true sense of democracy," the Congress leader added.
He said it is important to question the government on whether it believes in the mandate of the people and if there is freedom to speak freely in the country.
"Does our government believe in democracy? Does our government believe in public opinion? Do we have the freedom to speak, think, to travel, to wear what we like, to earn our livelihood or has that been curbed," Surjewala said.
The foundation of an 'Atma Nirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India), he said, was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and our freedom fighters.
"But a government which is selling public sector undertakings, handing over railways and airports to private players and attacking everything from LIC to FCI, will that government be able to keep the freedom of this country safe. It is the duty of the government and every citizen to keep the freedom of the country safe, he added.