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Monday, April 12, 2021

Is Bollywood full of hypocrites? Five recent incidents prove so

So our Bollywood recently has made its stand about various socio-political issues. It has shown solidarity about some international issues as well. Apparently, this is a good thing. Bollywood is already famous across the globe, especially in the US, UK, China to name a few, on top of that, this kind gesture will further boost a good name for the industry. But is it really all good as it shows? We wonder if the remarks of a wide range of prominent B-Town personalities would prove nothing but the industry’s hypocrisy. And in this article, we shall explore this area. We shall discuss how certain recent incidents depict sheer double-standard attitude of the cine superstars.

Is Bollywood full of hypocrites? Five recent incidents prove so

1. Solidarity with France for terror attack, but mum over extremist violence in home country

A hundred and thirty ‘Eminent citizens’ have come forward and issued a statement condemning the recent terrorist attacks in France. The list of citizens include ’eminent intellectuals’ such as Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhasker, Javed Akhtar, Tushar Gandhi, PIL-activist Prashant Bhushan and former top cop Julio Ribeiro. Needless to say, these are the same morally bankrupt individuals who have been running propaganda for Islamists over the Delhi Riots. The statement said, “We are deeply disturbed by the convoluted logic of some self-appointed guardians of Indian Muslims in rationalising cold-blooded murder and deplore the outrageous remarks of some heads of state.” “Rationalising crimes by comparing them to similar crimes committed by others is an irrational and absurd argument as two wrongs don’t make a right. We reject any ifs and buts in the justification of heinous crimes in the name of religion, any religion. No God, gods, goddesses, prophets or saints may be invoked to justify the killing and/or terrorising of fellow human beings,” it added.

The swiftness with which condemnation has come for the Islamic terrorists involved in the attacks in France was nowhere to be found when Radical Muslims rampage across the country seeking to unleash chaos across the country. It does appear that Indian intellectuals share humanitarian concerns with France but do not share the same bonds with their fellow citizens. Also, these same folks chose to remain silent when innocent lives were lost over cow vigilantism by Right-wing Hindu groups or when all accused were acquitted in Babri Masjid demolition case. But why this double standard? The motley crew of ’eminent intellectuals’ has gathered to condemn Islamic terrorism in France but when the same violence is conducted in India by Right-wing extremists, they twist their moral compass, is it?

2. Only handful of Bollywood celebs condemned Hathras as majority was busy with #BLM

Actress Sayani Gupta, on Twitter, likened the alleged gang-rape of a Dalit woman in Hathras to her film Article 15’s script after the Uttar Pradesh police official said that the forensic report of the victim did not confirm rape. Many fans seemed to agree with Sayani by commenting on how the 2019 crime drama, in which the local police attempt to cover up a gangrape in Uttar Pradesh, is “eerily similar” to what is allegedly happening in Hathras. However, there was another section of the Internet that couldn’t help but point out the “hypocrisy” of Article 15’s leading man Ayushmann Khurrana, who played a Brahmin cop fighting caste-based atrocities in the movie.

Srishty Ranjan, who is an influential Dalit voice on social media, called Ayushmann out over an Instagram Story in which the actor had condemned the alleged gangrape of the Hathras victim without stating that “she was a Dalit.” Srishty wrote, “When your movie Article 15 was about to release you seemed to be the most caste-sensitive Savarna on this planet. @ayushmannk now that you don’t have a movie on release, you cannot even state that she was a Dalit woman?” Ranjan, who also criticised Bollywood actresses Priyanka Chopra and Sonam Kapoor in a Twitter thread over not acknowledging the caste-based crimes and sexual violence in the country, spoke to News18 on why she thinks the film industry has failed her community. “When upper-caste people make a movie about our trauma, it is nothing less than appropriation. Even when white people appropriate Indian culture, they are called out by people of our country, but the same people fail to see how the Savarna-dominated film industry has always made money out of the trauma of the oppressed–be it Gully Boy or Article 15. As an individual, it’s important for them to speak up for the community from which they benefited and which got them recognition and laurels,” Srishty said.3.

“Ranveer Singh when asked about his political views because they had appropriated the ‘Azaadi’ slogan in Gully Boy, he said, in an interview, that he’s ‘apathetic to politics’. This is where the industry fails the people of India.” The death of two Dalit women after they were allegedly gang-raped in Hathras and Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh has caused nationwide fury, with hundreds and thousands of protestors taking to the streets to demonstrate against the “growing incidence” of caste-based crimes in the country. Ayushmann was named among the 100 most influential people of 2020 in the world by TIME magazine for doing socially-engaged cinema but when his “influential” voice is needed the most, the actor is silent. He literally played the role of an upper-caste saviour in a movie about caste-based sexual violence, but when he put out his statement about the Hathras case, he did not even mention the caste of the victim. Apart from Swara Bhasker, Richa Chadha, Zeeshan Ayyub, and Sayani Gupta, not many Bollywood celebrities have acknowledged the alleged role of caste in the Hathras and Balrampur cases while condemning them.

3. Bollywood shows solidarity for #BLM but also promotes fairness products

It angers her to see Bollywood celebrities show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns against racism, discrimination, and violence toward black people, but fail to condemn the caste-based atrocities in their own country. Bollywood actors posting against racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death and worldwide demonstrations have been called out on social media this week for their promotions of Indian skin lightening creams like “Fair and Lovely.”

bollywood hypocrisy
Photo: Twitter

When the actress Disha Patani tweeted a graphic last week reading “ALL COLOURS ARE BEAUTIFUL,” Twitter users were quick to call her out for her promotion of a Pond’s “Fairness” BB cream, advertised as a face product to whiten skin. Priyanka Chopra, who has done commercials for a Garnier skin bleaching cream, faced similar backlash on Instagram after posting in support of Floyd. Fairness creams — notably damaging to the skin — and colorism are not new phenomena in Bollywood. Even the industry’s most famous actor, Shah Rukh Khan — the “King of Bollywood” — who has nearly 92 million social media followers, has done commercials promoting creams with the slogans “Fair and Handsome” and “Flawless. Spotless. Pearl perfect fairness.” But surprisingly his daughter, Suhana, spoke against the issue recently.

4. Bollywood shows concern when stars are Covid-positive, they’re silent when people die due to lack of basic healthcare

Bollywood poured its well wishes and concern when superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Abishek Bachchan, Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, rapper Raftaar and other such people contracted Covid. We don’t see any celeb really talking about lack of basic healthcare facilities for poor or middle-class people of the country. They remain totally oblivious to this issue. We have seen how a teenaged boy died of Covid after getting no hospital bed in West Bengal a few months ago. The incident happened at the same time the Bachchans were hospitalised for having the same disease. No B-Town celeb raised the issue of lack of medical infrastructure in the country since the pandemic began.

We believe, movie stars enjoy such a huge influence in the country. This makes it imperative for them to speak up for the people who adore them so much. And, in a tumultuous situation like what India has been going through in the past few years, how can they disengage themselves from the very audience that has helped them reach where they are?

Bollywood hypocrisy
Photo: Twitter

5. Double standards about environmental issues

Bollywood celebs have shown their double standards about environmental issues as well. But this is nothing new. It has been going on for ages, recent air pollution scenario in India after Dussera and before Diwali just remind us of the hypocrisy of stars. Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’ Christian wedding ceremony in 2018 at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur was followed by a grand firework display. Soon after, the Quantico actor had shared the pictures from her mehendi and sangeet ceremony, with a host of Bollywood and Hollywood celebs wishing the newlyweds. But nobody spoke about fireworks that took place at the ceremony causing enough air pollution.

The residents of Jodhpur witnessed the synchronised firework display that lit up the night sky for hours. While the fans congratulated the newlyweds and were in awe of their vibrant sangeet pictures, several Twitter users also criticised the actor for bursting firecrackers despite being the face of the anti-pollution campaign around Diwali. Similarly, Shradhha Kapoor also once advocated about cracker-less and noise-less Diwali but was seen enjoying fireworks display during her film’s promotion. Also, Shilpa Shetty who once received a PETA award, posed with a roasted Turkey platter during Christmas.

These kinds of instances are many. We just mentioned five major signs of B-Town hypocrisy here. We are not judging anybody here and not stating what is good and what is bad, but just pointing out to the double standards of Bollywood.

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