Actor Deepika Padukone visited Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University on Tuesday evening in a show of solidarity with students and teachers who were attacked by masked goons on campus on Sunday. Her visit to JNU divided opinions on social media, where trending hashtags ranged from #BoycottChhapaak to #ISupportDeepika to #ChhapakDekhoTapaakSe.
But amid calls to boycott Chhapaak - including from some in the BJP like Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga - Deepika Padukone's supporters fought back by offering to sponsor tickets for her movie releasing Friday.
A Twitter account with 1.6 lakh followers put out a post offering to sponsor "100 tickets for Chhapaak for any NGO working with underprivileged kids." The tweet was 'liked' more than 26,000 times.
I will sponsor 100 tickets for Chhapaak for any NGO working with underprivileged kids.— Official PeeingHuman (@thepeeinghuman) January 7, 2020
Let andh-bhakts #boycottchhapaak, we patriots will promote the work of every Indian brave enough to come out and speak up to save Indian democracy.#ISupportDeepika
Ramit Verma, the man behind the account, told NDTV that he decided to sponsor tickets for the movie after he saw #BoycottChhapaak trending on the microblogging platform.
"This was very disheartening to see because it takes immense courage to stand up for students who are directly being made a target by the establishment," said Mr Verma. "I thought this would be a great way to show support to Deepika for being so brave and drawing the nation's attention to the students."
He added that he had received over 50 emails from NGOs and individuals like school teachers wanting to take him up on his offer and that he would select one from among them.
Another Twitter user, Arun Arora, who also offered to sponsor a 100 Chhapaak tickets for an NGO, told NDTV that he had been contacted by 4 to 5 organisations.
Mr Arora said that he decided to sponsor movie tickets after the "boycott move by BJP" and because of Ms Padukone's courage. "I also want that Laxmi's story should reach more and more people," he said.
Many other social media users, tweeting with the hashtags #ISupportDeepika and #ChhapakDekhoTapaakSe, also offered to buy Chhapaak tickets for others.
Agreed. Will be sponsoring 20 tickets for my regular fruit and vegetable vendors and their families. Checked what show timing they prefer. Just cause no one is given permission by me to tell me who to watch or boycott. #Merimarzi. #democracy#chhapaak— Sangeeta Irani (@iranisangeeta) January 8, 2020
I will sponsor 10 tickets for #Chhapaak first day all shows, for NGOs or group of girls.. No, I will not be joining with them, I will go with my family, in my time.. DM me for details.. #ISupportDeepika#JNUTerrorAttack#IndiaStrikesAgainstModiGovt#DeepikaPadukone#Deepika— फकीरा (@fcukeera) January 7, 2020
On the other hand, a number of Twitter users posted that they had cancelled their tickets to Chhapaak after Deepika Padukone's JNU appearance.
Cancel your tickets guys I have done let's see what you guys will do #BoycottChhapaak— sanjay (@sanjaykumarLS) January 7, 2020
On Sunday, masked attackers entered the JNU campus and beat students and teachers. The police has blamed the violence on clashes between the Left and Right Wing students and charged JNU students union president Aishe Ghosh, who was injured during the attacks, with vandalism.
Deepika Padukone did not speak at JNU, but photos of her standing with Aishe Ghosh drew admiration from many.Click for more trending news