A file photo of actor Deepika Padukone at ThePrint's Off the Cuff. | ThePrint
A file photo of actor Deepika Padukone at ThePrint's Off the Cuff. | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Two days after Deepika Padukone paid a surprise visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi inviting extreme reactions, the Narendra Modi government’s skill development ministry has “dropped” a promotional video that had the actor speaking about acid attack survivors and Skill India, ThePrint has learnt.

“A promotional video to promote Skill India featuring Deepika Padukone was to be released today (Wednesday). It was being circulated in the Shram Shakti Bhawan (ministry office) too. But after yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) chain of events the video was abruptly dropped,” a senior official in the ministry told ThePrint Wednesday.

The ministry, however, said Thursday it was only “evaluating” the video.

The 45-second promotional video on Skill India has Padukone speaking about equal opportunities for all citizens of the country, pegging it on her film Chhapaak, a biographical drama on an acid attack survivor set to release Friday. ThePrint has seen the video.

The skill ministry had facilitated Padukone’s meeting with acid attack survivors before the video was produced.

In its official response to a query from ThePrint, the ministry, however, said there has been no “formal engagement” with Padukone.

“As part of regular process under communication and promotional activity for Skill India, the team keeps getting ideas from media houses and organisations to cross promote each other. The production team (of Chhapaak) had approached Skill India for promoting the subject of the film,” said the ministry.

It added, “…the actors from the movie had met some acid attack survivors and specially-abled candidates from our ecosystem which are also Skill India beneficiaries inspiring them to do better in life,” said the statement.

Earlier, the media adviser of the ministry had told ThePrint that the “video was submitted by Deepika’s team” and it was being “evaluated”.

ThePrint reached Padukone for a comment but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.


Also read: Deepika at JNU: Promoting Chhapaak or breaking Bollywood stars’ safe silence on politics?


‘Pains me’

Deepika Padukone hit national headlines after she visited the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus Tuesday to express solidarity with JNU Students Union president Aishe Ghosh who was attacked, among others, by masked assailants Sunday.

Padukone didn’t make a statement from the campus. However, she told news channel Aaj Tak that the situation in the country “pains me”, and expressed anger over “no action” in the JNU case. The Delhi Police hasn’t yet made any arrests in connection with the JNU violence.

A section of BJP leaders came out to speak against the actor after her JNU visit, saying she supported the “tukde tukde gang”. Some even pressed for a boycott of Chhapaak. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, however, said anyone can go anywhere and have their opinion on any issue. “There is no objection to it.”

Padukone has drawn praise on social media for “taking a stand”. However, some have also described her act as a “publicity stunt”.

Skill India promotion 

The skill development ministry has in the past used the services of other Bollywood stars for promotion of its schemes.

In 2018, actors Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma were seen promoting the Skill India programme during the release of their film Sui Dhaaga: Made in India. In promotional videos, Dhawan and Sharma pushed Pradhan the Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, ITI and apprenticeship schemes.

Padukone, too, has in the past promoted the programme at events in Mumbai, said a ministry official who didn’t wish to be named.


Also read: Director Anurag Kashyap is reclaiming his street cred and standing up to the gangs of BJP


 

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17 Comments Share Your Views

17 COMMENTS

    • Blood Boils when they say Acid Attack on Lakshmi was done by a Hindu, while it is well known that Nadeem Khan was the culprit. This Film Produced by the Dhawood & Khan type of Kabali gang of Bollywood will be sending the wrong message to World about we Hindus.

  1. Shah can only aspire to be Putin or Xi; India’s foundation is just too deep for him to be able to sway the great country with his weight. NO pun intended.

    • India’s foundations are being demonstrated by the support for communal politics, shallow triumphalism and mealy mouthed hypocrisy. We are a very shallow nation that likes to cover ourselves in all kinds of imagined glory.

    • I have always wondered what happened to Indian (Hindu) civilization around the 8th/9th centuries. Why did it go into decline? A robust civilization would have stood up to the invaders.

      Looking at Shah-Modi, I can imagine that the problems were internal. I hope that these two don’t manage to drag this wonderfully diverse civilization – with all its problems – back by a 1000 years.

      As today’s demonstration by the JNU students shows, the Indian spirit is alive and kicking.

      • India as a civilisation has behaved as a continuous, and not a discrete entity. It has also shown greater absorptive capacity and as a result, become heterogeneous. Only the rulers kept changing, but the civilisation kept becoming diverse. In contrast, China, another ancient and equally great civilisation, exhibited a more closed character. Today Europe is displaying that absorptive character to a certain extent.

        When Mongols and Turks arrived, the Hindu Aryan and Dravidian cultures were not wiped out. In fact by 1560-70 it was the Mughals (Timurid Dynasty Sunni Muslims descendants) who made a great effort to integrate with native civilisation. Akbar’s abolition of Jizya was the first attempt at secularism. However, it was Aurengzeb who took a U-turn from liberalism and went back to extreme right wing. Perhaps that’s why the debate is that had Dara Shukoh been the emperor, Hindu-Muslim integration would have continued. It was the economic exploitation and imperialistic motive of the British that kept the chaos going from 1757 onwards.

        It is a long discussion, but at the risk of being told by you that I mix up a lot of topics, I will still like to state that there are many skeptics in India today, who love to question but fail to explore the causes and the reasons. Many refuse to believe that certain level of sophistication in science and conceptual thinking existed in the Indian civilisation. For example, many Indian liberals would scoff if someone were to state that Mendeleev’s Periodic Table was inspired by Panini’s seminal grammatical rules. But that’s precisely a recent cover article in the ‘American Scientist’ magazine (Nov. – Dec. 2019 issue) was about as the world celebrates 150 years of Periodic Table. Both Hindu and early Islamic cultures were way ahead in science, but it all fell apart after 10th century AD. The spirit of enquiry shifted to Europe but not without its own struggle with the Church.

        To sum up, civilisations have their ups and downs.

        • This is a complex subject that can take a lifetime of discussions.

          But I’ll make a few comments on the detailed points that you have rightly raised above:

          1) Three of the most important discoveries in human history originated in India: the principal Upanishads, the Sanskrit alphabet (try saying ka, kha ga…) and the decimal system (not only the 0). If Indians don’t appreciate discoveries like these, then they are the poorer for it.
          2) So the BJP Hindutva brigade is right when they complain that Indians don’t know their own heritage. But the problem is that they themselves know little about it. Since 2014 I’ve been waiting for a single meaningful mention of the Upanishads from them.
          3) Try Googling Upanishads and BJP. You’ll get some interesting results. A BJP spokesman referred to the Gita and Upanishad (singular). So they probably don’t know that there are many Upanishads.
          https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/bjp-corners-rahul-gandhi-over-upanishad-and-bhagwad-gita-statement/1068289
          4) Civilizations do have ups and downs. But after the BJP came to power, we seem to only have downs. Therefore if the BJP represents the majority of the Hindus, then we are in serious trouble. And my fear is that we are seeing a repeat of what caused the decline of this civilization more than a thousand years ago
          5) A few days ago IR announced 3 private trains. One of them is from Habibganj (Bhopal) to Agartala. Average speed of this train: about 50km/hour.
          6) 2 days ago China announced that driver-less trains have started working in preparation for the 2020 Winter Olympics. Maximum Speed: 350kmph. https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/driverless-bullet-train-china/index.html
          7) Remember that when the Rajdhani Express was introduced in 1969, it was the fastest train in Asia outside of Japan. Even after 50 years, it still trundles along at almost the same speed.
          8) Points 6 and 7 and 8 should put in perspective the problems India has. I don’t see how it will catch up.

  2. As a matter of fact / record, all these Skill / Start up / Stand up / Sit down / Make in India programmes have not added up to a packet of potato crisps. Even so, it seems petty to do something like this.

  3. Pity politics.
    How come her opinion overshadow her achievements. When Bollywood image is tainted by nepotism an outsider who made it to big league should be shown as icon.

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