Close to a month after ‘Pathaan’ hysteria, Modi cautions his partymen

Speaking the national executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the prime minister obliquely reprimanded his aggressive party voices


Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned BJP leaders from making unnecessary and attention-grabbing statements about films and personalities. He stated during the BJP National Executive meeting in New Delhi, “No one should make unnecessary comments that would overshadow the hard work we do.”

This comes amidst calls for boycotting Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone’s upcoming film “Pathaan” by some senior BJP leaders, including Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narrotam Mishra and Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur. Mishra had taken issue with the color of a costume worn by Padukone in the film’s song “Besharam Rang” and called for its rectification.

A right-wing organization in Chandigarh also called for the film to be banned and for criminal action to be taken against its makers. The Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Prasoon Joshi, has already announced that the makers of the film were asked to make advised changes and submit a revised version. This follows last year’s protests by a Hindu outfit against Aamir Khan’s “Laal Singh Chaddha” in Uttar Pradesh, who accused the actor of making fun of deities.  Pathaan is scheduled to be released in India on January 25, 2023, coinciding with India’s Republic Day in IMAX, 4DX and standard formats along with dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu. Advance bookings for the film appear to be substantial.

Clearly, after the controversy wound its course, the prime minister has spoken.

Close to a month back, as reported widely on December 21, Prominent BJP leaders paved the way calling for the boycott of the movie basis a song where “saffron” colour donned by the actress and “green” colour donned by the actor have become a point of contention.

As soon as the promotional song ‘Besharam Rang’ of the movie Pathan was released, certain individuals and groups within the saffron political ideology began to employ various methods to boycott the movie. They chose to nitpick the color of the outfit worn by the lead actress, Deepika Padukone, which was orange in color. This led to a series of hateful comments stating that saffron is a holy colour for Hindus and that her outfit and scenes with Shahrukh Khan are “objectionable” and will not be tolerated. This bigotry is selective and apparent. In the history of cinema, many actresses have worn bikinis of various colours and shot all kinds of scenes with actors, but these have quietly been overlooked. The selective targeting of a film with a Muslim actor in the lead is clear.

But this does not deter the saffron brigade at all. What becomes concerning for the filmmakers is when prominent political leaders call for the boycott over this issue. The production house and actors involved have not responded to this hate tirade, and rightfully so, as such objections do not warrant their time and energy. They aim to entertain the masses.

 Elected officials and union minister’s in Modi’s cabinet were not far behind. Ramdas Athawale, the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment said, “We don’t have any problem with Pathan except that it uses the phrase, ‘Besharam Rang’, in a song for the saffron colour. Saffron is not only the colour of the BJP or the Shiv Sena, but it’s the colour of the clothes that Gautam Buddha wore. About 2,500 years ago, it emerged as a colour of peace. Hence it is also an insult to Buddhism. If they don’t remove the word, besharam, our party will also agitate against the film. No colour is besharam and such a reference should be removed.”

Madhya Pradesh Home Minster Narottam Mishra was the first to begin this tirade. He had said, “The film ‘Pathaan’ is full of faults & based on toxic mentality. Lyrics of song ‘Besharam Rang’ and saffron and green clothes worn in the song need to be corrected or else we will take decision on whether to let the film’s screening happen in MP or not”



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