Deepika Padukone
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The defiance of Deepika Padukone!

Deepika Padukone

By HT

It began with an innocuous, angry tweet two weeks ago, but the storm in the coffee mug simply refuses to die down. Claims and counter-claims have kept the debate brewing for much too long.

In what was otherwise nothing more than a case of 'common' web content practice, the internet arm of a major media company put up a post showing Deepika's cleavage from a much older event with a screaming headline. Without doubt, it was done with the express desire to grab eyeballs: the 'item' had no news worthiness since it was more than a year old image. But in a domain where the pressure to 'increase' your viewership is so high and where the unofficial belief is that unless it is hard news, a bit of sensationalism is quite okay, this shouldn't have been a problem at all.

The truth is that for most part it would have gone unheeded had it not been for Deepika's tweet. It is, after all, not the first time a female actor has been 'commodified' thus. The difference being that in the past, nobody really had the gumption to stand-up and say: enough is enough.

That is where the Deepika trouble began.

While much energy has been spent in debating the legitimacy of the case, it also brings to light another issue: the confrontation between media (or at least a section of it) and Bollywood. We do not have too many instances of Bollywood biggies locking horns with big and powerful media houses. However, there have been instances in the past where the two have crossed swords. Here are a few famous examples:

Big B and 15-year-media hiatus

Back in the 70s, when the only superstar of the day, Rajesh Khanna was on his way out and Amitabh Bachchan was on the cusp of superstardom, the latter is said to have had a major fracas with a Mumbai-based gossip magazine. Such was the animosity between the two that they ended up boycotting each other... for the next 15 years! Here's how it all happened. In 1975, when Amitabh Bachchan's stars were on the ascend, the magazine invited him to a public function. Big B decided to skip it and instead, it is said, visited Dilip Kumar to discuss what could be done to handle what Bollywood saw as 'yellow' journalism. Infuriated at the slight by a rising star, the magazine is said to have imposed a ban on the actor. It was decided that Bachchan would henceforth never be interviewed by the magazine, and even his images wouldn't ever be published.

Soon, it came to light that a few other magazines too decided to blank him out. It was a popular, but unsubstantiated, claim that given the Big B's proximity to the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi, he had a role to play in muzzling the voice of the media during the infamous days of Emergency.

Infuriated at the accusation, Bachchan also reportedly imposed a self 'ban' and refused to speak to media.

It was another matter that once his stars started to shine the brightest, famous French critic and one of the founders of the French New Wave Henri Truffaut mockingly coin the term 'one-man-industry' and the media lapped him up with open arms.

Papparazzi, Dharmendra and Devyani Chaubal
Back in the 70s, things were very different from what they are now. In one reported case, Dharmendra's two sons, Sunny and Bobby Deol, reportedly thrashed a woman journalist, Devyani Chaubal, for writing what they claimed was an unsubstantiated report on their father. This is how it panned out.

Dharmendra, as we all know, had a long and protracted romance with Hema Malini, whom he eventually married. But Garam Dharam was a married man with a wife and four kids. The romance meant that gossip factories worked overtime and the duo was constantly under scrutiny, much to the angst of their families, the lady in question and the actor himself.

In this case, Sunny and Bobby are said to have trailed Chaubal for writing something they didn't like. During the course of a party, attended by Chaubal and the Deol siblings, there was an argument and things went completely out of control. Chaubal reportedly left the venue in a huff. Not the ones to take things lying down, the two brothers waylaid her soon and thrashed her for showing their father in 'bad' light.

Who Devyani? Well, if you've seen Vidya Balan's Dirty Picture, you'll remember the character Anju Mahendroo plays. The journalist's chracter is loosely based on Devyani Chaubal.

Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn and the awards
Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn have for long boycotted every single media awards. While the popular perception is that most of these nominations and awards are 'fixed' the two haven't come out and spelt out their reasons why they've decided to skip the award nights.

Controversy 'kid' Salman Khan and photojournalists
A couple of days back Salman Khan, Bollywood's very own enfant terrible, ran into a rough patch with film photographers. During the launch of a song Devil from his film, Kick, his bouncers reportedly got tough with some photographers gathered there. This led to section of Mumbai photojournalists' fraternity issuing a ban on him. Haider girl Shraddha Kapoor too had a run-in with photographers recently at promotional event which lead to photographers boycotting her too.