Former Infosys director Mohandas Pai and Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw sparred on Twitter on Sunday over actor Deepika Padukone's visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University to show silent support with the assaulted students. The 33-year-old actor's silent solidarity has set off much criticism on Twitter, with many threatening to boycott her latest movie "Chhapak", where she plays an acid attack survivor.
Stepping into such a discussion, Mr Pai, 60, had tweeted to agree that Deepika Padukone was "ill advised" and used to spread fake narratives. In his tweet, he had tagged Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, and others who had been outspoken on the issue.
True very sad; @deepikapadukone was ill advised. A good person with high values was led astray and used by Lutyens Delhi and the Khan Market Gang to further their fake narratives! @kiranshaw@PrinceArihan@ARanganathan72@anuraag_saxena She is a wonderful human,a true Bangalurean https://t.co/4EsuSmc2Wp- Mohandas Pai (@TVMohandasPai) January 12, 2020
A stern reply, however, came from Ms Mazumdar Shaw, who had earlier tagged the discussion "retrograde".
Her tweet read: "She was not advised by anyone. She decided on her own to show solidarity with students who were attacked by goons. Please respect an individual's rights to do what they want".
Mr Pai's tweet had also drawn fire from Deepika Padukone's critics, who insisted that he was minimising her move as she belonged to Bengaluru.
Ms Padukone, one of the most popular actors in the industry, had visited JNU on the evening of January 7 as a protest by the students against Sunday's attack by masked goons was on.
Images of her standing shoulder to shoulder with the attacked students, including JNU students' union chief Aishe Ghosh, drew as much admiration as criticism on Twitter.
Soon, hashtags #BoycottChhapaak and #shameonbollywood
had started trending.
Various leaders of the BJP had joined the ranks of her detractors. Shahnawaz Hussein said she should have taken "proper cognisance of violence" and her show of solidarity with Leftist organisations reflected her "one-sided thinking". Ram Kadam said the visit was "unfortunate" and that she should have visited the place with "an agenda of national interest".
Party spokesperson Sambit Patra had tweeted, "So the original #TukdeTukdeGang will stand in support & solidarity for the photocopy #TukdeTukdeGang Can anyone enumerate the names of those from Bollywood/Khan-market-gang who are planning to fly to Lahore to extend their well meaning support!".