NEW DELHI: The torrential rain that paralysed Mumbai yesterday had an unexpected side effect on social media - actor Sidharth Malhotra has been trending two days straight now because Twitter pounced on the opportunity to ridicule his Friday's post about the Gurmeet Ram Rahim rape verdict while also plugging his new film A Gentleman. All day yesterday, tweets sharing helpline numbers and other updates were punctuated by posts about how rained out (and in) Mumbai should stay safe while also catching the film. "All the people of Mumbai, Sidharth Malhotra urges you to please stay safe, stay indoors and watch A Gentleman" - and variants of this riff - was a refrain that popped up every so often on Twitter.
The furious downpour receded today and, as Mumbai struggled to resume normal life, the mocking continued:
Sidharth Malhotra kind of asked for the ruthless ridiculing by tweeting this on Friday morning, as Panchkula teetered on the edge of violence ahead of the verdict on Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim by the Haryana High Court:
He was shown no mercy. Twitter called Sidharth 'shameless' and 'ungentlemanly' for his tone-deaf promotion of a film while Panchkula burnt - Ram Rahim's conviction on two counts of rape provoked his followers to riot. 38 people died and 250 were injured in violent clashes and arson.
Sidharth Malhotra later said his tweet had been posted before the verdict was delivered. It didn't absolve him. Among his many detractors were politician Omar Abdullah, who posted this:
A Gentleman, which stars Sidharth Malhotra in a double role and Jacqueline Fernandez as the female lead, opened to middling reviews. Box office business has likewise been slow, a fact that has also provided Twitter with cause for mirth