While some brands have said they are reducing the visibility of ads featuring her in the short term, celebrity managers say future endorsement deals are expected to see clauses factoring in the risks involved with celebrities taking political stands that might anger administrations inclined to be vengeful.
“Normally, brands like to play safe and are wary of any controversy,” said Shashi Sinha, chief executive of IPG Mediabrands, which represents Coca-Cola and Amazon among others.
Padukone visited the JNU campus in Delhi on January 7, three days ahead of the release of her film Chhapaak, about an acid attack survivor. Photos and videos showing her standing behind injured JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh went viral, sparking widespread messages of support extolling her courage and backlash from ministers, right-wing trolls and others.
Amid boycott calls, Chhapaak’s net box office collection amounted to Rs 11.67 crore in two days. Its Friday collection was Rs 4.77 crore, rising to Rs 6.90 crore on Saturday. Early estimates put the Sunday figure at close to Rs 9 crore. The total cost of production of the film is below Rs 40 crore. “We have been told by a mid-sized brand to stall ads featuring Deepika for about two weeks. Hopefully, the controversy would have normalised by then,” said an executive at a media buying agency.
Padukone, with a net worth of Rs 103 crore, endorses 23 brands including Britannia’s Good Day, L’Oreal, Tanishq, Vistara Airlines and Axis Bank. She has 26.8 million followers on Twitter.
‘Her Personal Choice’
In 2019, she was on television for almost 11 hours a day, according to a celebrity brand endorsement report by TAM Media Research. She is learnt to charge Rs 10 crore for a movie and Rs 8 crore for endorsements.
“I don’t think brands will back down from the current Deepika controversy. She believed in something and stood by it. While brands prefer an apolitical stand, celebrities who have a point of view should be free to express it,” said Krossover Entertainment managing director Vinita Bangard, who has worked on brand deals with Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra.
The head of a top celebrity management company said: “We are telling our celebrity clients the pros and cons of speaking up on political matters. While it’s entirely their personal choice, these can snowball into sensitive matters either way.”
Executives of two top brands said Padukone’s political stance was her personal choice and that it doesn’t impact their relationship with her. Both declined to comment on record.
“I don’t believe there will be a brand backlash for celebrities who’ve spoken their points of view,” said Atul Kasbekar, managing director of Bling Entertainment, whose clients include Sonam Kapoor and Vidya Balan.
The episode will be forgotten in a few weeks, said Sandeep Goyal, chief mentor, Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB).
“So her current endorsement brands needn’t really worry,” he said. “However, if the JNU visit is a first step in a run-up to ‘retirement’ from leading roles in a couple of years or earlier, and she wants to build a persona which can open vistas to politics and public life, then JNU is an interesting twist for Brand Deepika.”
OTHERS SPOKE UP TOO
Others film personalities including Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Suniel Shetty are among those who have condemned the attacks. Bhatt posted a message on Instagram asking people to “stop pretending that all is fine… We must look truth in the eye and acknowledge that we are a house at war with itself,” she wrote. Sonam Kapoor tweeted: “At least show your face when you want to attack innocents.”
Swara Bhaskar, Varun Grover and other members of the film industry have been consistently vocal about their opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act and other policies of the government, making them the target of right-wing trolls.
The police have said the JNU clashes were sparked by the left-wing student union, led by Ghosh, who has also had a case registered against her. The students have said that the masked attackers were members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and its supporters, who were not stopped by the police from going on a rampage on the evening of January 5.
Coproduced by Padukone along with director Meghna Gulzar and Fox Star Studios, Chhapaak is based on the real-life story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. The film, Padukone’s first production venture, was released on 1,700 screens in India and 460 overseas.
Three years ago, actor Aamir Khan was dropped by ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal after he said he and his wife Kiran Rao had wondered whether they should move out of the country due to rising intolerance.
Read More News on
Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
71 Comments on this Story
Okman 408 days ago
MNC canuse her ads in Pakistan.
Gopal Kulkarni409 days ago
She cannot be classified as a person who would side with national interests anymore. Will not watch a single movies of hers going forward.
Kishore Shivani411 days ago
THE SUPPORT WAS ONLY FROM FRATERNITY THE BRAND MANAGERS HAVING LOTS OF MONEY RIDING ON HER AND THOSE IN CAHOOTS WITH AISHE GHOSH AND HER LEFTIST BRUTALISING MOB . THIS WOMEN SHOULD BE TOTALLY BOYCOTTED:HER MOVIES HWE AND AND EVEN THE PRODUCTS THAT SHE PROMOTES SHE IS A SLUR ON WOMANHOOD AND ALL PEACEFUL CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY.