'Changing name of accused from Muslim to Hindu is defamation': Subramanian Swamy joins Chhapaak debate

Subramanian Swamy has now joined the #BoycottChhapaak row.

"Ishkaran is drafting a legal notice to Deepika Padukone & producers, if they have changed name of accused from Muslim in real life to a Hindu name. That is defamation." he wrote on Twitter.

The above mentioned Ishkaran is incidentally Ishkaran Singh Bhandari, an advocate.

Swamy is referring here to the film's antagonist.

In 2005, Laxmi Agarwal was disfigured for life when a man called Nadeem Khan and three others allegedly hurled acid at her in Delhi's upscale Khan Market.

In the film based on her life, the narrative remains the same but the names have been changed. So, Laxmi is 'Malti' Agarwal and Nadeem becomes 'Babboo' aka 'Bashir Khan'.

Based on the real life experiences of the acid attack survivor, Chhapaak has stirred up quite a controversy after reports circulated that the acid-wielding antagonist had had his name changed to fit the movie.

So, Laxmi is 'Malti' Agarwal and Nadeem becomes 'Babboo' aka 'Bashir Khan'.

On Wednesday, Swarajya magazine wrote an article headlined, "The Ways Of Bollywood: In Deepika Padukone-Starer Chhapaak, Acid Attacker Naeem Khan Becomes 'Rajesh'."

"As part of a backlash against Padukone's JNU 'meet and greet', social media users researched the names of the characters involved in the movie Chhapaak and conspicuously found the name of main perpetrator Naeem Khan absent," the article alleged.

But in the Meghna Gulzar directed film, there is no mention of any Nadeem or Naeem Khan. Moreover, Rajesh is the name of Malti's boyfriend.

Also Read: Should she go Sangh Mukhalaya instead? Cong taunts BJP and RSS after Deepika's JNU sojourn

In what could well be a storm in a 'Twitter cup', "Nadeem Khan" and "Rajesh" began trending on the microblogging site after a magazine article claimed the name of the antagonist had been changed. By 4 pm, 'Nadeem Khan' clocked close to 60,000 tweets and 'Rajesh' close behind with 50,000.

People cited everything from Wikipedia pages for the movie and Laxmi Agarwal to other tweets to cry foul about the change of name.

Swamy too, it would seem harbours the same impression.

But he's not alone. Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Babul Supriyo jumped into the controversy, saying it was another example of "absolute hypocrisy".

"...When you say all characters are fictitious and don't have any resemblance with living beings and all of that, this is absolute hypocrisy. When you change the name which also changes the religion, it has been done very deliberately," Supriyo told a TV channel when asked to comment on the controversy.

South Delhi BJP MP Ramesh Biduri also called for a boycott of the movie.

Also Read: #NameItLikeBollywood trends after Deepika's 'Chhapaak' 'changes' acid attacker's name from Nadeem Khan to Rajesh

But this is not the only bone of contention when it comes to Chhapaak and its lead character.

Politicians and Bollywood celebrities alike have aired their opinion on the film and Deepika Padukone's visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University to show support for students affected by violence.

For the uninitiated, Padukone, while in Delhi to promote the film had shown up at a public meeting in the university. Since then, she has been the focus of many a social media discussion.

Also Read: Deepika Padukone attends JNU students protest against campus attack

With Deepika grabbing attention by going to JNU, many appreciated her 'silent solidarity' but others criticised her for "supporting the Leftists" and said it was a promotional stunt ahead of the release.

"#Boycott Chhapaak" was trending on Twitter as was "#ISupportDeepika".

(With inputs from agencies)