Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in Pathaan
Shah Rukh Khan's blockbuster new release Pathaan has prevailed over calls for boycott and protests from fringe groups. The orange bikini Deepika Padukone wears in a scene has made it to the final version of the film, reports news agency ANI. The outfit – specifically its colour – was cause for complaint by several right wing groups with protests and poster burning in parts of the country. The Censor Board advised revisions and in the final cut, the outfit appears not in the Besharam Rang song that caused such outrage but in a subsequent scene.
Protests snowballed after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra objected to Besharam Rang when it released in December. The depressingly familiar threats to block screening and calls for boycott followed but appear to have collapsed as Pathaan's first day numbers stack up. In monster advance bookings, 5.5 lakh tickets were sold for Day 1 – the second highest for any Hindi or Hindi dubbed film after Baahubali: The Conclusion. Pathaan opened in over 100 countries with the highest screen count of any Hindi film – 8,000. Per trade analyst Taran Adarsh. In another first, 300 shows were added by exhibitors after the first screening on Wednesday morning.
Early reports on box office collections have been encouraging. Box Office India described the earnings so far as a “bumper opening.” Taran Adarsh reported collections of just over Rs 20 crore by national chains as of 3 pm on Wednesday.
Pathaan, directed by Siddharth Anand, occupies Yash Raj Films' elaborate spy universe in which Salman Khan's Tiger films and War also exist. In his first lead role since 2018's Zero, Shah Rukh Khan plays the titular Pathaan, a RAW agent tackling a terror threat from terrorist leader Jim, played by John Abraham. Deepika Padukone plays a spy as well, teaming up with Pathaan. Dimple Kapadia and Ashutosh Rana also co-star.