Amid raging controversy over Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone-starter film ‘Pathaan’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly advised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders to refrain from making any “unnecessary remarks" on films.
The advice was given during BJP national executive meeting held on January 16 and 17 in New Delhi. A few media reports stated that their sources quoted PM Modi as saying that “some people give statements on some film" which plays on TV and in media all day. The prime minister asked the party workers to avoid making such remarks.
Modi’s statement comes at a time when Shah Rukh Khan‘s ‘Pathaan’, which landed in a soup over saffron costumes, is set for release on January 25. The controversy was triggered after Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra objected to the song ‘Besharam Rang’, claiming that it hurt religious sentiments of the Hindu community. Mishra said that “the way saffron and green coulours have been used" in the costumes used in the song is objectionable.
Objection in Bihar
Another BJP leader in Bihar, Hari Bhushan Thakur Bachaul, threatened to stall the release of the film. “It was a dirty effort by the makers of the film to weaken the ‘Sanatan’ culture of the country. The saffron colour is a symbol of ‘Sanatan’ culture," Bachaul said.
“The sun is of saffron colour and the colour of fire is also saffron. It is a symbol of sacrifice. The film’s makers have described saffron as a ‘Besharam’ (shameless) colour, which is extremely unfortunate and objectionable. The short dress of the heroine is a show of vulgarity. This is the reason why majority of the countrymen are demanding to boycott the film," he added.
Reacting to the objections, JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha said that no political party has the copyright of any particular colour, and the BJP is unnecessarily creating controversy.
Objection in Maharashtra
Maharashtra BJP leader Ram Kadam also said the filmmakers should clarify their position on the raging debate. He added that the state will not screen any film or serial that insults Hindutva.
#पठाण फिल्मला देशभरातील #साधू #संत #महात्मा सहित social media वर देखीलअनेक #हिंदू संघटना आणी करोडो लोक ह्या चित्रपटाला विरोध करत आहेत.महाराष्ट्रात सध्या #हिंदुत्व विचारधारा असणारे सरकार आहे
अधिक बरे राहील फिल्म निर्माता आणी दिग्दर्शक समोर येऊन त्यांनी त्यांची भूमिका
— Ram Kadam (@ramkadam) December 16, 2022
He also questioned the filmmakers if the movie was a ploy to gain “cheap publicity" or whether there was a conspiracy behind their decision. The BJP leader said, “Several Hindu organisations and even on social media voices have offered criticism. Isn’t it the moral responsibility of the makers to clear their stand rather than keep quiet on the issue? Is this a move to gather cheap publicity and is there a conspiracy?"
Ram Kadam added that since the state of Maharashtra has a BJP government which follows the Hindutva ideals, the government will not allow any film or serial to run which insults Hindutva emotions.
Objection in Uttar Pradesh
The BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh demanded that the Yogi Adityanath government ban ‘Pathaan’ in the state and initiate stringent action against the makers. “Vulgarity with saffron colour was being committed in a song in the movie and it is an insult to the Hindu community and Sanatan culture. Hence, we have expressed our concern," BJP leader Rajesh Kesarwani said.
Objection in Chandigarh
A right-wing organisation based in Chandigarh had in December urged the local administration to ban the screening of ‘Pathaan’, and sought criminal action against its makers over the song ‘Besharam Rang’.
“We have filed a complaint with the deputy commissioner (DC), Chandigarh, seeking a complete ban on the upcoming movie Pathaan in Chandigarh. The release of this movie will hurt the religious sentiments, feelings of a particular community,” Vijay Singh Bhardwaj, president of the Anterrashtriya Hindu Parishad, was quoted by Indian Express.
“In the released song of this film, makers of this movie insulted the saffron colour, which is holy for the Hindu community. We opted to submit our complaint to the DC as maintenance of law and order falls under him. We have planned to hold protests against the film and the song,” Bhardwaj said. He maintained that similar complaints are being lodged in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Pathaan Gets ‘UA’ Certificate from CBFC
Directed by Siddharth Anand, ‘Pathaan‘ has received a UA certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). According to trade analyst Taran Adarsh, the film received its certificate on January 2, 2023. The film’s runtime is 146.16 minutes- which is 2 hours and 26 minutes.
Reports on several entertainment portals stated that CBFC also demanded over 10 cuts in ‘Pathaan’. The demanded cuts also include Deepika Padukone‘s saffron bikini, which stirred several controversies. Other than that, the board reportedly demanded the word RAW to be removed from the film. According to reports, CBFC also directed ‘Pathaan’ makers to change a few dialogues in the film.
PM Modi’s Message to Reach Out to Minorities
At the national executive meeting, PM Modi also asked BJP members to reach out to every section of society, including minorities such as Bohras, Pasmandas and Sikhs, and work for them without electoral considerations.
News agency PTI quoted its sources as saying that in this backdrop, Modi suggested party workers refrain from making unnecessary remarks on irrelevant issues such as movies as they put the party’s development agenda on the back-burner.
Various party members who were part of the audience said the prime minister spoke highly of ‘sufism’ and also asked them to meet professionals from different walks of life and visit places like universities and churches to connect with them.
The prime minister said India’s best era is coming and the party should dedicate itself to the country’s development and turn “amrit kaal", the 25 year period to 2047, into “kartavya kaal" (era of duties).
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