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Ek Ticket, Ek Black Coffee: Colour controversy over Pathaan's Besharam Rang song comes home

‘So wearing orange is a problem? Deepika Padukone is also one of ‘us’ orange-walas no?’

Pathaan's Besharam Rang song controversy comes home

  • Manisha Lakhe

Last Updated: 10.23 AM, Dec 26, 2022

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‘How dare she wear orange when she’s singing about being besharam!’ My troll bhaisaab was spouting borrowed outrage. 

Bhai, throwing orange peel into the garbage is okay kya? In fact, you swallowed orange coloured orange just now! Isn’t that some kind of paap also?’

He looks sort of funny when he declares, ‘Orange is our colour! Green is not!’

My little niece has been listening to this exchange very happily. She joins the discussion. ‘So daddy, we won’t have to eat spinach anymore, right? Spinach is green, bhindi is green, and ugh… cucumbers are also green! Let’s never eat green. Can we please eat only orange-coloured chicken lollipops and butter chicken?’

I add, ‘But I like Guavas, they are green. Does that make me…’

‘Eat Papaya!’

‘Are we allowed to eat that? Is that not an insult to the colour orange?’  

‘Orange is ours, we can eat it!’ 

‘So wearing orange is a problem? Deepika Padukone is also one of ‘us’ orange-walas no?’

‘But the song is about the colour being besharam, so I’m mad that she’s wearing orange.’ 

‘Where do the lyrics say that orange is the besharam rang?’

‘It does!’

‘No, it doesn’t!’

We go to a site that has the lyrics of the song.

‘See!’ I say, ‘The song clearly says: Besharam Rang kahan dekha (hai) duniya walon ne! That does not say ‘Maine besharam rang pehan rakha hai, dekho duniyawalon!

Arre, but…’

‘Your netaji did not hear the lyrics properly, bhai! He was distracted by her clothes!’

‘He’s not like that! He’s respectable!’

‘Song clearly says the world has not seen the colour that is called besharam.’

My artist sister wonders aloud, ‘Should we contact Pantone? They would know what colour is besharam.’

‘I don’t care. We will boycott Pathaan!’

‘But you don’t watch movies, you watch only cricket!’ chimes in his little daughter.

I say, ‘And the cricket ground is green, so you should boycott cricket also!’ 

Dad popped in to remind us of the song: 


‘Your new song seems to be a copy of the old song, isn’t it? Maybe I will gather my senior citizen group and protest the copying of a classic song…’

My very filmy bhabhi stands at the door with plates a la Mastani. She’s going to announce she’s setting the table for lunch. She reminds us, ‘Time par lunch khana hamara dharm hai aur dharm ka koi rang nahi hota,’ and then asks bhai, ‘Don’t you think my eyes are as pretty as Deepika Padukone’s?’

We ate arugula and feta salad with oranges and pears, palak paneer, veg pulao with carrots and peas and cauliflower, and yes, mango shrikhand. Saffron Bhai was a little embarrassed to take that second helping of the very green palak paneer… But then he went off to join the group that was asking the Lord of ‘Gyan’ and ‘Gun’ to stop the release of Pathaan. We listened to Khalid's new album and are waiting for Taylor Swift's new Christmas album. 

And as always, dad got the last word in - 'Ku-mati nivar su-mati ke sangi.'

About the author:
Manisha Lakhe writes on films and TV shows, is a poet, teacher, traveller and mom (and not necessarily in that order). Could sell her soul for Pinot and a good cheesecake.

(Disclaimer: Views expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of OTTplay. The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.)