Deepika Padukone’s ‘Besharam Rang’ song – from the film ‘Pathaan’, also starring Shah Rukh Khan – has been targeted by lawmakers from the Bharatiya Janata Party in at least two party-ruled states for scenes shot with a ‘dirty mindset’ and the actor’s saffron-coloured costume. Maharashtra BJP MLA Ram Kadam on Friday morning joined Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra in claiming an insult to the Hindu religion and demanding an apology.
Ram Kadam (and Narottam Mishra) also took a swipe at Deepika Padukone over public support for students of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University after they were attacked by a mob many believe were backed aided by the ruling BJP and right-wing groups.
“Many sadhus, saints… of the country… many Hindu organisations and crores of people strongly oppose this… Maharashtra has a government with Hindutva ideology. (The) film producer and director (must explain themselves) to the saints…” Ram Kadam tweeted.
“… it is certain. Any film or serial that insults Hindutva in Maharashtra will not (be shown). Is the one who supported JNU intentionally hurting the ideology ‘janeu dhari’ (those who wear the sacred Hindu thread)?” he added.
On Wednesday Mishra – who has a long history of ranting against advertisements, movies and series he claims hurts Hindu sentiments – demanded ‘Pathaan’ makers ‘rectify’ certain scenes. Mishra too had alluded to Deepika Padukone’s JNU visit in 2016, calling her a supporter of the ‘Tukde Tukde gang’ – a supposed pejorative coined by the BJP after the attack on JNU.
He also targeted Shah Rukh Khan – who earlier visited a Mata Vaishno Devi shrine – over his potrayal of women in films.
The minister, however, made no reference to sexualisation of women in dozens of other Bollywood films that are released every year.
Mishra and Ram Kadam were joined in calls against Deepika Padukone by a Supreme Court advocate and a Hindu religious figure – the Mahant of Ayodhya’s Hanuman Garhi – who urged people to burn theatres showing the film.
Right-wing group Vishva Hindu Parishad has also objected; national spokesperson Vinod Bansal said: “Dubbing bhagwa (saffron) as besharam (shameless) and indulging in indecent acts is the height of anti-Hindu mentality.”
Deepika Padukone, Shah Rukh Khan and the makers of ‘Pathaan’ have, however, been backed by actor Swara Bhaskar and filmmaker Onir.
‘Pathaan’ is scheduled for release on January 25, 2023.