The highest grosser of the year "Pathaan," starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, faced backlash and controversy before its release due to a scene in the song "Besharam Rang," in which Deepika wore a saffron-coloured bikini. Some members of society called for a boycott of the film due to the perceived disrespect towards the colour saffron, which holds significance in Hinduism and is associated with Hindu nationalist political movements in India.
However, after the film's release, it turned out to be the highest-grossing Hindi film of all time, changing the narrative around the controversy. The film's director, Siddharth Anand, recently spoke at the News18 Rising India Summit 2023 and shed some light on the saffron bikini controversy.
Anand revealed that the decision to dress Deepika in a saffron bikini was quite random, and they didn't give it much thought.
He explained that orange looked good against the backdrop of blue water and green grass, and it was a sunny day. The filmmaker clarified that there was no intention to hurt anyone's sentiments, and it was simply a creative decision based on aesthetics.
Anand added that the way moviegoers flocked to theatres to see the movie is evidence that the boycott campaign as a whole was incorrect. He clarified that when people call for the boycott of a celebrity or a film, they fail to realise how many people's livelihoods rely on that film, mainly if it succeeds. Every day, at least 300 employees work on a movie set and much more work on the visual effects (VFX). So it's simple for people to initiate the trend of boycotts without giving it much thought.
After the success of 'Pathaan', Siddharth has begun shooting his next, 'Fighter' along with Deepika again. The film stars Hrithik Roshan and Anil Kapoor along with the actress.