Movie poster for Pathaan

Pathaan (2023 Film)

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Updated Jan 28, 2023 at 05:32AM EST by Rebecca Rhodes.

Added Jan 27, 2023 at 10:39AM EST by sakshi.

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Pathaan is a Bollywood action-thriller starring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and John Abraham. The film was directed by Siddharth Anand and produced by YRF films. In the months leading up to Pathaan's release, the film came under public and media scrutiny for its supposed anti-Hindu messaging, with right-wing groups in India admonishing "obscene" imagery in the song "Besharam Rang" in December 2022. After the film's release in January 2023, it became the subject of various memes both mocking and supporting a "boycott" campaign against Pathaan in particular and Bollywood in general.


On March 2nd, 2022, Shah Rukh Khan took to his Twitter[1] to release the first public announcement of his then-upcoming film Pathaan, saying, "I know it’s late… But remember the date… Pathaan time starts now…" The post gathered over 84,000 likes in nearly 11 months (seen below).


Besharam Rang Saffron Bikini Controversy

On December 12th, 2022, YouTube channel YRF[2] posted the music video to the song ""Besharam Rang": from the 2023 film Pathaan. The video gathered over 39 million views in two days (seen below).

The song and music video became a topic of conversation soon after its release, partly due to people ridiculing its choreography, and partly due to religious backlash over the dress worn by actress Deepika Padukone. Various Hindu activist groups raised objections to the saffron shade of orange worn by Padukone due to its close association with Hindu culture.

On December 14th, 2022, the Twitter[3] account for State Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Dr Narottam Mishra, released a statement that translates to, "Actress Deepika Padukone supporting Tukde Tukde gang in the song of the film #Pathan. The costumes are highly objectionable and the song has been shot with a dirty mindset. The scenes and costumes of the songs should be corrected, otherwise, whether the film should be allowed in Madhya Pradesh or not, it would be a matter of consideration." The tweet gathered over 24,000 likes in over a month (seen below).

The political and religious backlash against the song was met with resistance from various media commentators. On December 15th, 2022, Twitter[4] user @ReallySwara posted a tweet that translates to, "Meet the ruling politicians of our country.. If you had free time to look at the clothes of actresses, who knows, you would have done some work as well?!? 🙏🏽🤷🏽‍♀️😬" The post gathered over 36,000 likes in over a month (seen below).

ILM Swara Bhasker @ReallySwara मिलिए हमारे देश के सत्ताधारी राजनेताओं से.. अभिनेत्रियों के कपड़ों को देखने से फ़ुरसत मिलती तो क्या पता कुछ काम भी कर लेते?!? #Pathaan #Pathan Translate Tweet BJP govt in MP may ban SRK, Deepika's movie Pathaan after latest song showed 'Muslim man groping woman in saffron' The statement was given by MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra. 8:17 AM . Dec 15, 2022 5,584 Retweets 859 Quote Tweets 36.4K Likes

On December 15th, 2022, Twitter[5] account @ANI posted a video of veteran actor Amitabh Bacchan speaking at a film festival in Kolkatta, saying, "Even now, questions are being raised on civil liberties and freedom of expression." The post gathered over 67,000 plays and 700 likes in over a month (seen below).

Boycott Pathaan

Protests against the film by various right-wing groups continued in some Indian states. On January 4th, members of the group Bajrang Dal tore down the posters of the film in an Ahmedabad mall and posted video footage to the Twitter[6] page @Bajrangdal_Guj posted videos of the vandalism, with a tweet that translates to, "Today in Karnavati Bajrangi washed #पठान , anti-Sanatan Dharma @iamsrk and Tukde gang @deepikapadukone movies will not be allowed to run now. Warned by going to the multiplex, if the movie is released, #बजरंगदल will show his attitude. At BajrangDal Maidan in honor of Dharma." The tweet gathered over 24,000 views and 500 likes in two weeks (seen below).

On January 17th, 2023, News18[7] tweeted a headline about Indian Prime Minister Modi urging people to refrain from making "unnecessary remarks" on films (seen below, left). On January 21st, Assam Home Minister[8] posted a tweet in response to the vandalism of a movie theater screening Pathaan in his state (seen below). The minister has previously remarked that he did not know who Shah Rukh Khan was when asked for a comment on the vandalism (seen below, right).

CNN NEWS 18 @news18dotcom Amid raging controversy over #Shah Rukh Khan and #Deepika Padukone-starter film '#Pathaan', PM Modi has reportedly advised BJP leaders to refrain from making any "unnecessary remarks" on films. 'Refrain from Commenting': Before Pathaan's Release, Modi's Advice to BJP; T... PM 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 10:07 PM. Jan 17, 2023 703 Views Himanta Biswa Sarma @himantabiswa Bollywood actor Shri @iamsrk called me and we talked today morning at 2 am. He expressed concern about an incident in Guwahati during screening of his film. I assured him that it's duty of state govt to maintain law & order. We'll enquire and ensure no such untoward incidents. 11:44 PM . Jan 21, 2023 7.8M Views ... 5,031 Retweets 2,016 Quote Tweets 52.1K Likes


On January 25th, Redditor[9] /u/willing_candle_4260 posted a video to the subreddit /r/bollywoodblindsngossip, showing an audience in theaters dancing and enjoying the ending credits of Pathaan, with the cameraman heard saying, "Bhai craze," or "Bro craze." The post gathered over 1,900 upvotes in a day (seen below).

Pathaan opened to generally favorable reviews despite the various religious controversies engulfing its release. On January 27th, 2023, Twitter user and notable pop-culture critic KRK posted a tweet[10] that read, "I was insisting and asking @iamsrk to change name #Pathaan. But he was sure that this name is perfect. And finally he has proved that he is still Badshah of Bollywood and I am a “Jandu Baam” in front of him.🤪😂" The tweet gathered over 18,000 likes in nearly a day (seen below, left). On January 26th, director and producer Ran Gopal Verma posted a tweet[11] about Pathaan as well, gathering over 16,000 likes in a day (seen below, right).

KRK @kamaalrkhan I was insisting and asking @iamsrk to change name #Pathaan. But he was sure that this name is perfect. And finally he has proved that he is still Badshah of Bollywood and I am a "Jandu Baam" in front of him. 4:40 AM Jan 27, 2023 584.4K Views . 1,783 Retweets 219 Quote Tweets 18K Likes Ram Gopal Varma @RGVzoomin 1. Theatre collections will never be great again in times of OTT 2. SRK is a fading star 3. Bollywood can never make a COMMERCIAL BLOCKBUSTER like the south masala directors 4. It will take years to break the day 1 collections of KGF 2 ALL above MYTHS broken by PATHAN 11:36 PM Jan 26, 2023 642.9K Views 2,032 Retweets 59 Quote Tweets 16K Likes

Search Interest

External References

[1] Twitter – iamsrk

[2] YouTube – YRF

[3] Twitter – drnarottammisra

[4]  Twitter – ReallySwara

[5] Twitter – ANI

[6] Twitter – Bajrangdal_Guj

[7] Twitter – news18dotcom

[8] Twitter – himantabiswa

[9] Reddit – /r/bollywoodblindngossip

[10] Twitter – kamaalrkhan

[11] Twitter – RGVzoomin

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