Who doesn’t love Deepika Padukone? She’s blessed with a perfect body, a captivating smile, a tall athletic father, a reconstructed nose, and an enviable career. She’s gorgeous and guess what, we all love her from head to toe. Men gape at her and her cleavage – as do women, and as did Times of India.
The controversy began when Times of India tweeted a picture of Deepika Padukone’s picture captioned – “Oh My God!: Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show!” Deepika Padukone replied “Yes! I am a woman. I have breasts and a cleavage! You got a problem!!??” Of course, the world supported Dippy and rightly so.
No one, as a matter of fact had a problem with her cleavage. TOI was simply trying to cash in on the cleavage show – just as Deepika Padukone has done in her movies and off-screen appearances. Deepika further issued a statement via her official Facebook account that she essentially was a liberated woman who had a firm control on the portrayal of her characters on screen. She played these characters convincingly – regardless of the length of dresses she wore or the unmissable show of cleavage. All this had nothing to do with her REAL life – and she ended matters there.
But then TOI took it a step further to justify their inane reporting by saying Deepika was a hypocrite – she flaunted her cleavage to further her career – during liquor promotions or movies or parties etc. Clearly there was a malicious attempt to link Deepika to alcohol and sleaze!
Few facts seem irrefutable in this saga:
- TOI is trash – they’ll cling to any report to catch eye balls
- Deepika is the new age feminist – she got TOI by the balls and she’s not letting go!
But here’s my issue with Deepika’s argument. Deepika stated roles require her to be near-naked if needed, and she portrays each character convincingly; but was an important distinction between her REAL and REEL life. While that’s absolutely true, Deepika cannot walk away from the crux of the argument TOI tried to make and failed miserably – Deepika and mostly all other leading actresses use their body and their acting abilities to draw in audience and capitalize on their movies. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Indians need to just grow up and accept that women own their bodies and they have every right to flaunt it the way they want.
Sadly, there’s little distinction between personal and professional life when there are constant demands and attempts to flaunt perfect figures, perfect smiles, abs and asses, cleavages and navels during off-screen appearances! Deepika and her contemporaries know all too well that a sexy image sells – what she wears will be noticed because she’s a famous public figure. In fact, as Shah Rukh Khan cleverly put it, actors die for public attention regardless how it’s sought – that’s what makes them famous. Deepika knew all too well that her picture would be taken in the public place, but surely the picture’s tasteless angle and the caption set her off when she took on TOI! That said, TOI had the right to publish the picture, because it was taken in public place without encroaching on Deepika’s personal space. It’s a sad reality all of us citizens have to live with, let alone celebrities like herself.
In addition, I am a bit skeptical about Deepika’s new found feminist avatar. Very recently she was bobbing around in a song from Dum Maro Dum which said –
“Hey, tu phir dekh raha hai
Aaj aankh sek raha hai, kal haath sekega
Aaj dheel chhod raha hai, kal khud hi rokega
Aaj mere liye chair kheech raha hai, kal meri skirt kheenchega
kheenchega ke nahin huh!”
(Translation: Today you pull the chair for me, tomorrow you will pull my skirt. You are going to pull it or won’t you?)
Of course, the camera explores every inch of her scantily clad body as she dances to risqué tune and portrays a forgettable dancer for a full 5 minutes in a 3 hour movie. The question arises, what character was she trying to play so convincingly in a song objectifies women? Or was the handsome amount of the money she got for the song sufficient to shut the feminist lurking in her?
I would much rather Deepika apologize for demeaning women when it was convenient and lucrative for her to do so! Perhaps she should have simply said – she made stupid choices in the past playing roles that objectified women and added nothing to the feminist debate. But that would expose the inherent hypocrisy TOI pointed out – Deepika conveniently capitalized on her assets in REAL and REEL life, but was terribly hurt when TOI did the same.
The magnitude of Deepika’s hypocrisy doesn’t end there. I distinctly remember her giving Kangana Ranaut a lecture about choosing characters wisely and not doing roles to just earn a buck. You see, unlike Deepika, Kangana didn’t have the family support to ride out financially trying times, and therefore chose dismissible roles such as Rascals, Double Dhamaal, etc. This despite Deepika’s choice of bizarre roles herself where she was nothing but a pretty scantily clad figure – Race 2, Housefull, Dum Maaro Dum etc. And what about her collaboration with Yo Yo Honey Singh in Chennai Express – the guy who literally sings songs glorifying rape? It may appear to a lay person, that Deepika’s version of “respect” for women serves one purpose – furthering her career.
Catch the excellent Rajeev Masand interview here:
The problem with celebrity is such – it’s hard to draw the line between REAL and REEL when the line is based on mere convenience and money! Deepika cannot simultaneously be a feminist and part of an industry that objectifies women non-stop. She has to take a stance and if her’s is a feminist stance, then she must distance herself from work that portrays her as a mere sex object!
Of course all of us support the #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone hashtag campaign, but honestly, I hope Deepika doesn’t change her mind again when she’s offered big bucks to dance around for 5 minutes in another forgettable role. I hope her work and her life do justice to feminists striving behind the scenes for equal opportunities for women around the world. More importantly, I hope she realizes the importance of her stature and the message she’s sending about womanhood through her on-screen and off-screen portrayals.
There’s no attempt to exonerate Times Of India – a practically irrelevant news paper since 2000s. TOI champions worthless news items that clutter both it’s printed version and the online version. The whole cleavage debacle is an immaturely planned gimmick to regain readership from formidable competitors such as DNA, The Hindu etc. By defending their idiotic tweets, retorts and explanations, and red arrows that point to Deepika’s ever present cleavage, TOI has further sunk itself in a hole.
I am pretty sure the only readers they’ll have left are Uncle ji’s who love hating on hot women but enjoy gaping at their cleavages on their toilet seats and Aunty ji’s who love hating on hot women…period!