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Yes, it did make a dent: Meghna Gulzar on whether Deepika Padukone's JNU visit impacted 'Chhapaak'

Gulzar, who is currently promoting her latest movie "Sam Bahadur", said there is no denying that the visit affected the film

PTI New Delhi Published 28.11.23, 07:18 PM
Meghna Gulzar (L) amd Deepika Padukone

Meghna Gulzar (L) amd Deepika Padukone File photo

Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar says Deepika Padukone's controversial 2020 visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University during the promotions of "Chhapaak" impacted the film as it shifted the focus from the issue highlighted in the movie.

Padukone, who was in the national capital to promote the movie, made a surprise visit at the university to lend solidarity to JNU students after violence broke out at the campus and many of them sustained injuries.


Gulzar, who is currently promoting her latest movie "Sam Bahadur", said there is no denying that the visit affected the film.

"I am sure that answer is pretty obvious. Yes, it did make a dent on the film because the conversation went from acid violence which I intended the film to amplify... The conversation actually changed track and went somewhere else so of course it impacted the film. Of course there was an impact on the film. There is no denying that," she said during the Indian Express Adda.

Padukone's trip to JNU caused a political storm and the actor faced social media vitriol with hashtags of 'boycott Chhapaak' trending on internet. "Chhapaak", based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, did not do well at the box office In a conversation with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express group, and film critic Shubhra Gupta, Gulzar and "Sam Bahadur" star Vicky Kaushal spoke about reuniting again for a movie after the success of "Raazi" and the clash between their film and Ranbir Kapoor's "Animal".

Giving the analogy of cricket, Kaushal said two films opening on the same day is good for the film industry and it depends on luck which one does better business than the other.

"When two opening batsmen come to the crease, playing for the same team, you won’t say that the two batsmen are clashing with each other, they are playing for a single team. So, we are playing for Hindi cinema.” Gulzar said she had nothing but reverence for Manekshaw while working on the biopic.

"The camera was never at Vicky's eye level, It was always at a lower level and looking up at him," she said.

"With Sam (Manekshaw), there is no scope for villainising anybody. It's not that story and he is not that man. He didn't do it in his lifetime and I can't do it in his film. He fought to defend his country without villanising his enemy. Otherwise, the treatment that he gave to the 93,000 prisoners of war that we had would not have been given. He treated them with humanity and respect that a soldier merits." Kaushal said he was initially apprehensive to take on the character but found working on the movie to be one of the most fulfilling experiences of his life.

"He has left such a wonderful legacy. It seemed like a big task for an actor to pull off. At first, I was really happy about the opportunity I got. At times, when I would get to know the details of his life, I used to think that it's a massive responsibility. It was intimidating but at the same time one of the most fulfilling experiences as an actor," said Kaushal.

Also starring Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh, the movie is slated to release on December 1 along with "Animal", directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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