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'Boycott Bollywood' shadow looms over 'Pathaan'

On January 6 this year, the FWICE issued a press release condemning the ongoing trend of boycott Bollywood

Boycott Bollywood shadow looms over Pathaan
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On January 6 this year, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) issued a press release condemning the ongoing trend of boycott Bollywood and sought immediate protection against the "hooliganism in theatres and the threats to producers".

As per the release, "such trends are influenced by those who believe in hatred and who do not support peace, harmony and unity".

It further said that people have been barging into theatres, threatening the public and forcefully vacating theatres and that while the FWICE "appreciates people boycotting films for their right and reasonable objections, this indiscriminate boycott of Bollywood films will not be accepted and allowed at any cost. This should end somewhere".

The federation urged the government to "intervene and stop" the 'Boycott Bollywood trend', which picked up pace on Twitter and other social media platforms off late, starting with Aamir Khan's Laal Singh Chaddha which released last year.

But, at the moment, it is mainly targeting Pathaan, an upcoming film starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.

Ever since the release of its first song, Besharam Rang, on December 12, the film has been garnering hate from those who have taken offence to multiple aspects, right from the saffron colour of Padukone's bikini to the lyrics to the choreography saying that the film hurts Hindu sentiments at various levels.

Soon after, boycott Pathaan began trending and tweets urging 'Hindus to boycott Pathaan' began doing the rounds.

The controversy soon took a communal colour with many calling out the song and the choreography to be "anti-India," and "against the Hindu cultural mores".

Meanwhile, Shah Rukh Khan made an appearance at the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) 2022, which was timely as his film was facing facing boycott calls on Twitter.

Those who have been following the issue closely say that it is the people's angst against the entire Hindi film industry that is the culprit for such hate being spewed against Bollywood films off late.

With barely a fortnight to go before the release of Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan finds himself under tremendous pressure to ward off any negativity surrounding his film. It is important for the film to do well, because none of his recent films have succeeded.

The list includes, Zero, Jab Harry met Sejal, Raees, all of which were experimental films that were made on very high budgets.

The kind of hate being observed on Twitter against Bollywood films has turned the phrase, “any publicity is good publicity”, on its head, says film director Onir in an interview.

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