How The Galwan Controversy Again Surfaces The Bollywood Vs Bollywood Debate

Richa Chadha Galwan Tweet Controversy
There’s a major controversy clouding the Indian film industry yet again, and it’s just not about films like most times. A recent tweet by actor-producer Richa Chadha has created a stir not just on the micro-blogging platform but also among the public across social media sites. Chadha’s controversial tweet, which she says was not what it’s deemed to be, was in response to a tweet about the Indian Army being ready to take back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Her comment on the same has upset her colleagues in the industry with most celebrities criticising her for her insensitive comment hurting the sentiments of the Indian army. While a handful of stars have her back, the rift between the two sides has extended largely with the public and the political world jumping in and picking sides.

The Bollywood vs Bollywood fiasco isn’t new, and definitely not surprising. From nepotism to politics to boycotts, the Hindi film industry has battled it all, just not together.

Suggested Reading: Galwan Says Hi: Actor Richa Chadha’s Tweet Draws Flak

Richa Chadha Galwan tweet controversy

How did it start? 

Actor Richa Chadha is not new to controversy. If we circle back to earlier instances, Chadha, who is firmly and confidently opinionated had never shied away from speaking her mind, especially during times when most of her peers chose to stay mum even on matters that required national attention and celebrity backing.

This time around, however, she found herself amid a controversy that a larger audience connected with – the plight of the Indian army. The actor received a series of backlash for her tweet over the 2020 Galwan clash between India and China which resulted in the death of several soldiers from the Indian Army. It began when a Twitter user shared a press statement of Northern Army Commander Lt General Upendra Dwivedi which read: “We are completely prepared to take back PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) from Pakistan. We are currently waiting for the orders from the government post which we will complete the operation quickly. Prior to that, if Pakistan is violating the ceasefire, the answer will be different.”

Chadha quoted the above tweet and wrote, “Galwan says hi.” All hell broke loose post her comment as the tweet generated greater attention than Chadha could have thought or didn’t hope for certainly.

What followed Chadha’s tweet?

What followed after was a backlash from the public and her colleagues in Bollywood who went ahead to screenshot her now-deleted tweet and made their statements going after her for using a subject as significant as Galwan. The actor’s tweet drew flak from all spheres, politicians, Army personnel, the public, and activists, but what generated more spark was when Bollywood star Akshay Kumar went after her, used the screenshot of her deleted tweet and wrote: “It hurts to see this. Nothing ever should make us ungrateful towards our armed forces. Woh hain toh aaj hum hain.

Kumar’s tweet was appreciated by his colleagues including Anupam Kher and Kay Kay Menon who simultaneously wrote how no justification can be given for tweeting something that outright disrespects the sacrifices of the armed forces. Kher targeted Chadha and remarked that he believed Chadha may have done this without knowing the criticism she could have drawn and still went ahead just because she was “trying to become popular among some people by talking badly about her country.”

Chadha, who understood the gravity of the matter, immediately deleted her tweet and instead issued a statement of apology mentioning how she understands the army’s value. She supported her statement by recalling her grandfather and uncle’s services in the Indian army and said that even though it was not her intention in the least if the 3 words being dragged into a controversy have offended or hurt anyone, she apologises. She continued, “It would sadden me if even unintentionally my words have triggered this feeling in my brothers in the Fauj.” While several celebrities tweeted against Chadha, actor Praksha Raj and Swara Bhaskar came in support of her to an extent that Raj targeted Akshay Kumar and stated how he was disappointed with Kumar’s single-handed take in the issue. “having said that Richa Chadha is more relevant to our country than you sir,” he wrote while tagging Kumar with whom he has worked in the film Entertainment.

To think beyond being critical, it’s normal to have divided opinions over issues because not everyone has a similar understanding of what the issue curtails, and not everyone is similarly affected.

The problem, however, arises when battles are selective, some opinions are disregarded, and most people just come under the bus due to generalisation by the public. That’s what happens every time a Bollywood actor makes a statement on anything to do outside of films. Why opinions of Bollywood stars matter is because they have a hold over the masses like no other.

If stars stay mum on a topic, they’re shamed for doing so and if they speak out in favour or against something, they’re belittled either way. Having said that, because they carry influence and they have chosen to be in the public eye, they’re expected to have opinions and communicate them. The problem arises when opinions are divided politically. It’s not the first time a Richa Chadha or an Akshay Kumar have been involved in an online battle that goes on for days and fizzles out as soon as a new issue surfaces in the country, but to see Bollywood stars, however mindful, come out and go after each other is non-idealistic and unwanted because they lose the worth of it all and, to be fair, they are not taken seriously in the long run. One may argue that they are entitled to their opinion, of course, they are, but in this day and age when the country is sitting on a lighting matchstick with everything sensitised, there has to be a certain balance when celebrities go after each other in public, especially in matters that concern the entire nation.

Richa Chadha commenting with the context of Galwan was surely going to attract undue, negative attention. She may have done that without thinking much through, maybe with an honest intention, but she didn’t think before tweeting that anything related to the armed forces in this country is, by far, the most touching subject of all when it comes to the masses, and that’s where her tweet derailed.

The views expressed are the author’s own

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