Besharam Rang: Deepika wears saffron at FIFA WC after Pathaan’s desert storm

Ironically, Padukone was seen wrapped in a full length saffron-brown colour dress, looking different from her usual glam avatar. Although there is no official dress code in Qatar, all tourists are expected to wear modest clothes and conservative attire that is comfortable while not being too revealing.

| Updated: 19 December, 2022 10:25 am IST

Amid raging controversy in India over her latest film Pathaan, Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone became the first Indian to  unveil the Fifa World Cup trophy in Qatar ahead of the final on Sunday. The move is being dubbed as a promotion activity for her upcoming film which also stars Shah Rukh Khan. The film has faced the ire of the Hindu right-wing in India due to “vulgar” portrayal of saffron colour.

Ironically, Padukone was seen wrapped from neck to feet in a saffron-brown colour palette, looking different from her usual glam avatar. Although there is no official dress code in Qatar, all tourists are expected to wear modest clothes and conservative attire.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra has demanded that some vulgar scenes maligning the colour saffron, representative of Hindu culture – worn by Sadhus and ascetics in Indic traditions – should be deleted or else the state might consider banning the film.

During Deepika’s last major theatrical release, Chapaak in 2020, she stood with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in the aftermath of government crackdown triggered by anti-national slogans raised in the university campus. Padukone had come in for heavy criticism for showing support for a cause only to promote her film. On another occasion, Padukone had also said, “What I am seeing today, it pains me. I hope it doesn’t become the new normal. That anyone can say anything and they can get away with it. I get scared and I feel sad as well. This is not the foundation of our country.” She was referring to the alleged shrinking of space for “freedom of expression” in India.

During Deepika’s last major theatrical release, Chapaak in 2020, she stood with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in the aftermath of government crackdown triggered by anti-national slogans raised in the university campus. Padukone had come in for heavy criticism for showing support for a cause only to promote her film. On another occasion, Padukone had also said, “What I am seeing today, it pains me. I hope it doesn’t become the new normal. That anyone can say anything and they can get away with it. I get scared and I feel sad as well. This is not the foundation of our country.” She was referring to the alleged shrinking of space for “freedom of expression” in India.

Interestingly, Padukone chose to honour the FIFA platform in a country that is known for blatant human rights violations. More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago. 2,711 Indian workers have died in Qatar since preparations began for the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar’s history of violating basic human rights extends far beyond labor exploitation. Freedom of expression, press freedoms, and freedom of association are all severely restricted in Qatar. In fact, as per the annual survey of Freedom House which analyses political and civil liberties in different countries, the human rights situation has declined in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup back in 2010.

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