Meghna Gulzar Opens Up About Deepika Padukone’s JNU Visit and Its Impact on ‘Chhapaak’

Celebrated filmmaker Meghna Gulzar has recently shed light on the impact of Deepika Padukone’s controversial visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on her 2020 film ‘Chhapaak’. In a candid interview with The Indian Express, Gulzar acknowledged that the visit, which occurred just days before the film’s release, significantly diverted public attention away from the film’s core message of acid violence and shifted the focus towards the ongoing political discourse.

‘Chhapaak’, a biographical drama based on the life of acid attack survivor Lakshmi Agarwal, was released in January 2020. Deepika Padukone, who played the lead role in the film, visited JNU in January 2020 to express her solidarity with protesting students against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Her presence at the protest ignited a firestorm of criticism, with many accusing her of politicizing the film’s release and overshadowing the important social issue it aimed to address.

Gulzar, during the interview, admitted that the controversy surrounding Deepika Padukone’s JNU visit undoubtedly affected the film’s box office performance. She stated that the conversation surrounding the film shifted away from acid violence and towards the political debate ignited by Padukone’s visit. This shift in focus, she believes, hindered the film’s ability to reach its intended audience and resonate with viewers on a deeper level.

The director further explained that the controversy surrounding Padukone’s visit continued to overshadow the film even after its release, hindering its chances of success and overshadowing the important message it aimed to convey. The film, which was made on a budget of ₹50 crore, managed to earn only ₹55.44 crore at the box office, falling short of expectations.

Gulzar’s admission highlights the delicate balance that celebrities often face when expressing their personal views and engaging in activism. While their voices can amplify important causes, their actions can also inadvertently draw attention away from their professional endeavors and overshadow the messages they aim to convey through their work.

Despite the setback faced with ‘Chhapaak’, Meghna Gulzar remains committed to her filmmaking journey and her dedication to exploring powerful and socially relevant themes through her work. She continues to inspire audiences with her compelling storytelling and her unwavering commitment to using her platform to address societal issues. Fans and critics alike eagerly await her upcoming projects, anticipating her ability to deliver thought-provoking and impactful films that challenge and inspire audiences.