After the Madhya Pradesh government, a leader of the ruling BJP in Maharashtra, too, has said the upcoming Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone movie ‘Pathaan’ is “insulting towards Hindutva” and “will not be allowed”. Hindutva activists and BJP leaders see a communal angle in the use of the “holy colour saffron” for Deepika Padukone’s “vulgar” bikini in ‘Besharam Rang’, a song released as part of the promotions ahead of next month’s release.
In tweets today, Maharashtra BJP MLA Ram Kadam even alluded to Deepika Padukone’s solidarity with some Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students in Delhi 2020 after they had been attacked by a mob that allegedly had the backing of the ruling BJP and other RSS affiliates.
“JNU-dhaari” (people standing with JNU) are hurting the sentiments of the “janeu-dhaari” (Hindus who wear the sacred Brahmin thread), he said, in tweets in Hindi and Marathi.
“Any film or serial that insults Hindutva will not be allowed in Maharashtra,” he added, signing off with “Jai Sri Ram”.
द्वारा कही जा रही है .उस पर स्पष्टतासे अपना रुख बयान करे .
पर यह निश्चित है . महाराष्ट्र के भूमी पर #हिंदुत्व का अपमान करने वाली कोई भी फिल्म हो या सिरीयल हो. वह चल नही पायेगी.
JNUधारी क्या ज़नेउ धारी विचारधारा को जानबूझकर आहत करनेका क्या ये दुस्साहस है ?
— Ram Kadam (@ramkadam) December 16, 2022
He demanded that since Maharashtra — the home of the Hindi film industry — has a “government with Hindutva ideology”, the film’s producer and director should have to explain themselves before the “saints, mahatmas, Hindus organisations and crores of people on social media” who have been objecting to the film.
Many of those protesting, including BJP leaders, have alleged what they call “love jihad”, pointing towards the Hindu actress and Muslim actor’s pairing and their “saffron” and “green” attire in the song ‘Besharam Rang’. They’ve called for a boycott of the movie or even all of Bollywood.
The film’s makers have not reacted while there have been protests in places like Indore in Madhya Pradesh, where Shah Rukh Khan’s effigies were burnt.
Shah Rukh Khan did appear to address it, speaking about online toxicity in Kolkata on Thursday, “The collective narrative of our times is shaped by social media. Contrary to the belief that social media will affect cinema negatively, I believe cinema has an even more important role to play now.”
— NDTV (@ndtv) December 15, 2022
His comments came a day after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that if certain scenes in the song were not “corrected”, the BJP government in the state “will consider what to do about the screening of the movie”.
— NDTV (@ndtv) December 14, 2022
He’d said the “green” and “saffron” attire of the lead actor and actress needed to be “rectified” along with the lyrics of the song and the title of the film, which is to release next month.
Mr Khan, in his address at the Kolkata film fest, further said: “I read somewhere that negativity increases social media consumption and thereby increases its commercial value as well. Such pursuits enclose the collective narrative, making it divisive and destructive.”
Objections to ‘Pathaan’ tie in with similar protests against movies by Aamir Khan, whose comments about the socio-political climate and about PM Narendra Modi in decade-old interviews are often held up to call him “anti-national”.
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