• Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

Minister-ji, Who Is The ‘Asli Besharam’? – by Shobhaa De

ByJosh Taylor

Dec 15, 2022

I believe I have a “polluted mentality” since I genuinely liked watching two superbly fit Bollywood celebrities dance vigorously to the recently released single ‘Besharam Rang’ from a possible blockbuster titled ‘Pathaan,’ which is set to be released next month. Now I’m wondering what I should do about the “contamination” – how can I get rid of the dangerous material? The mind is a little more sophisticated than, say, a tainted dish of noodles. But I doubt my perplexity is of any interest to Dr. Narottam Mishra (62) who is enraged by the picturization of the blockbuster song starring Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan.
The Madhya Pradesh government’s Minister-ji, who is in charge of Home Affairs, has given a severe warning to the producers: “Fix the costumes or else…” His rage is directed not just at the ‘costume’ (bikini), but also at the choice of colour – a cheery orange to most observers, but unmistakably saffron to the minister, whose PhD thesis is headed The Role of an MLA in the Advancement of Indian Democracy.
Shabaash, Sir-ji, now that you have the democratic roadmap in place, why not reconsider what the term “democracy” means? Is it OK to threaten filmmakers and actors as part of the democratic process? You, Sir-ji, see’saffron,’ but the spectators see orange. You suggest a conspiracy, but people perceive entertainment. The idea that a ‘Muslim guy’ (SRK) touching a Hindu woman (Deepika Padukone) in a “saffron” bikini is a planned conduct aimed to hurt national feelings is absurd at best and dangerous at worst. Already, those careless remarks to reporters in Mhow District have sparked a violent retaliation, with members from a Veer Shivaji outfit burning effigies of the stars.
Please socho a bit before declaring you want the colours “rectified” and some situations “fixed,” Sir-ji. You’ve also asked that the song’s lyrics and title be changed. Why? Is this Bollywood’s first orange bikini song? Remember Dimple Kapadia in ‘Bobby’ (1973)? You were 13 at the time, and your thinking was probably more open and less brainwashed. The ‘contaminated’ complex might have arrived later. Dimple, 16, was shown merrily cavorting in an orange (saffron?) bikini as lovelorn hero Rishi Kapoor gazed wistfully at her. I can’t remember what colour his clothing was – was it green? There were no effigies burned, nor was’rectification’ required. The film became a box office success and continues to draw audiences 49 years later.
You have accused Shah Rukh Khan of “Bringing bikini chicks in films”. Sir-ji, what’s the deal with bikinis? You’ve argued SRK has no business to travel to Vaishno Devi to seek blessings for the success of ‘Pathaan’ and then be shown dancing on screen with “bikini girls”. A quick question for Minister-saab: would his words have been different if Deepika had been wearing a blue bikini and SRK had been wearing a red shirt? Is it because of the bikini? Or how about the colour? Is ‘besharam’ in the song referring to a certain ‘rang’? If Mishra-ji only sees saffron everywhere he looks, he should consult an optometrist. As well as color-correcting his own eyesight.
He didn’t stop with SRK; he also called Deepika Padukone a member of the ‘Tukde-Tukde’ gang, a reference to the 2016 JNU demonstrations. When a prominent member of the ruling party makes such incendiary claims in public, the consequences can be fatal. Apart from jeopardising a film’s monetary success by inciting demonstrations, it might jeopardise the actors’ lives and create irreversible harm to their reputations.
In today’s strange world, just about everything can be twisted and turned to cause a scandal. According to his adventurous track record, Shri Mishra is no stranger to controversy. The current one is a seaside song starring two enormous performers coming together on film following the massive success of their last four collaborations, including ‘Chennai Express’.
For my part, I’m looking for a reputable laundry mat in my area. I’d want to submit my tainted mind for a complete bleaching to eliminate any saffron and green remains that could be impeding my eyesight.

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