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Amid Besharam Rang Row and Shah Rukh Khan’s Return, Why It’s a Big Deal


Last Updated: January 24, 2023, 17:21 IST

Pathaan, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, is releasing tomorrow. (Image: YRF/Twitter)

Pathaan, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, is releasing tomorrow. (Image: YRF/Twitter)

Explained: As Pathaan opens in theatres tomorrow, a look at the controversies and anticipations around the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer

Bollywood actor and superstar Shah Rukh Khan is set for a return after years, with his latest Pathaan. And the film, weeks before its release began to make headlines. The reasons were not all positive – a controversy erupted after certain Hindu seers objected to the colour of Deepika Padukone’s bikini (saffron) in the song Besharam Rang.

After protests, changes were made to the film’s song. And the Gujarat unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) too withdrew its protest against the film a day before its release, expressing satisfaction over the removal of “objectionable” contents from the film.

As fans and movie lovers wait in anticipation of the film’s release, let’s take a look at everything, from the plot to expected earnings and controversies related to Pathaan.

Pathaan has been facing backlash for featuring actor Deepika Padukone in a saffron bikini in the song ‘Besharam Rang’. (YRF screengrab)

What is the Film About?

A Yash Raj Films project, “Pathaan” is directed by Siddharth Anand and also features Deepika Padukone and John Abraham in pivotal roles. According to reports, the film’s plot revolves around Pathaan, an exiled RAW field operative, who is tasked with eliminating “Outfit X,” a private terrorist organisation plotting a nuclear attack on India.

Pathaan is also Shah Rukh’s first film after a four-year hiatus. After a series of films that did not do well, and the drugs case related to his son Aryan Khan last year, there is increased scrutiny on the performance of Pathaan.

How Well is the Film Expected to Perform?

Industry experts are confident that the film will open somewhere between Rs 45 to 50 crore at the box office, reports say. The trailer has received over 49 million views on YouTube. Khan’s tweet with the Hindi trailer has 3.9 million views, with another half a million for the Telugu and Tamil versions, according to a BBC report, which adds that advanced ticket sales have received a “exceptional response” in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and Australia.

What Was the Besharam Rang Controversy?

The controversy began when the music video for Deepika Padukone and SRK’s Pathaan song Besharam Rang was released, and people began to question the “vulgar” nature of the video. Deepika Padukone was also seen in the video wearing an orange bikini, creating an uproar in some political and religious outfits. They claimed that the bikini offends Hindu sensibilities.

Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan in Pathaan.

Both Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone have received numerous threats from political parties and Hindutva groups in recent days, with the hashtag #BoycottPathaan trending on Twitter since the release of the song Besharam Rang. Some termed the colour as saffron. The saffron colour is considered the identity of Hindutva and is held sacred by several Hindu groups.

After the uproar, the close-up shots of “buttocks, side-pose, and sensuous dance movements during the lyrics “Bahut Tang Kiya” have been removed from the song Besharam Rang. According to a Bollywood Hungama report, the ten cuts suggested by the CBFC have been incorporated into the final cut for Pathaan’s theatrical release. The report says that the certificate does not state whether the saffron outfit, which has been the source of controversy and protests against the film, was removed or changed.

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