Image Courtesy: indiatoday.in
As soon as the promotional song ‘Besharam Rang’ of the movie Pathan was released, the saffron brigade got to work to employ as many tools of hate as possible to boycott the movie. To nitpick, they chose the colour of the outfit worn by the lead actress, Deepika Padukone, which was orange in colour. There began the series of hateful comments saying that saffron is a holy colour for Hindus and her “objectionable” outfit and objectionable scenes with Shahrukh Khan will not be tolerated.
The bigotry is apparent and selective. In the decades of cinema where even yesteryear actresses have donned a bikini in many colours and shot all kinds of scenes with the actors, have quietly been pushed under the rug only to selectively target a film with a Muslim actor in the lead. The fact that such selective targeting is apparent does not deter the saffron brigade at all. What becomes a matter of worry for the makers of the film is when prominent political leaders call for the boycott over this issue. The production house as well as the actors involved have given absolutely no reaction to this hate tirade and rightly so. Such objections do not warrant the time and energy of these artists who aim to entertain the masses.
To counter this right wing rhetoric, many social media users dug out an old video of Union Minster Smriti Irani donning a ssaffron bikini as part of her ramp walk for the Miss India contest.
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’ & saffron&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”
The film ‘Pathaan’ is full of faults & based on toxic mentality. Lyrics of song ‘Besharam Rang’ & saffron&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: MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra pic.twitter.com/csEl6jUd4t
— ANI (@ANI) December 14, 2022
The hate wave even spread to Maharashtra where BJP MLA Ram Kadam, said, “JNU-dhaari” (people standing with JNU) are hurting the sentiments of the “janeu-dhaari” (Hindus who wear the sacred Brahmin thread). Any film or serial that insults Hindutva will not be allowed in Maharashtra”.
महाराष्ट्र मे वर्तमान मे #हिंदुत्व विचारधारा वाली सरकार है . बेहतर होगा फिल्म निर्माता तथा दिग्दर्शक सामने आकार जो आपत्तीजनक बाते साधू संतो
— Ram Kadam (@ramkadam) December 16, 2022
DNA reported that since this comment, complaints have been filed with the I&B ministry against the actors Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan for disrespecting the religious sentiments of the Hindu.
The comments also prompted workers of “Veer Shivaji Group” in Indore to burn effigies of Deepika and Shahrukh to protest against the “objectionable” saffron bikini.
In a rather abhorrent remark, Madhya Pradesh Assembly speaker said, “Shah Rukh should watch this film with his daughter, upload a picture and tell the world that he is watching it with his daughter. This should definitely not be allowed. Will you dish out whatever you feel like? I want to openly say — make one such film on Prophet Muhammad and release it in the name of freedom of expression. There will be bloodshed across the world,” reported NDTV.
Naturally in trending topics, #boycott Pathan was trending for a day. Many social media users dismissed these comments and came out in support of the song and the movie.
Closer to the release of the movie, the boycott gang will expectantly become active again. Moreover, there is a buzz that this will be a talking point in the Madhya Pradesh’s winter Assembly. Where more germane points are conveniently sidelined by the representatives, it is such topics which have no basis and relevance to governance, are gaining prominence in the Assembly. There is more to come until the release of the movie and if these threats of disallowing the release of the move in some states are actually implemented, it will hurt the business that the movie is expected to do and will serve the purpose of the right wing, which is economic boycott of a Muslim artist who has always been on their radar.