Central Board of Film Certification Chairperson Prasoon Joshi on Thursday said that changes have been recommended to the songs from the upcoming Hindi movie Pathaan, PTI reported.

A song titled Besharam Rang from the spy thriller starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone features Padukone’s character in a saffron dress for a few seconds. Hindutva groups held protests across India against the song.

The film has been submitted for clearance to the CBFC, and has gone through “the due and thorough examining process”, the board’s chairperson Prasoon Joshi said in a statement released to PTI.

Joshi added in the statement, “The committee has guided the makers to implement the advised changes in the film including the songs and submit the revised version prior to theatrical release.”

On December 14, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra declared that Padukone’s attire in Besharam Rang was prima facie highly objectionable. Mishra also threatened to block the theatrical release of Pathaan on January 25 in Madhya Pradesh.

Besharam Rang, Pathaan (2023).

Mishra in a tweet wrote, “The filming of the song clearly reflects a contaminated mentality...The visuals and costumes from the song should be corrected, otherwise it will be a question to be considered whether the film should be allowed in Madhya Pradesh or not.”

He also accused Padukone of being a member of what Hindutva supporters call the “tukde tukde gang” – Indian activists supposedly involved in traitorous activities. In January 2020, Padukone had visited Jawaharlal Nehru University students in Delhi after they were attacked allegedly by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

A complaint against Besharam Rang has been filed in a court in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district. Complainant Sudhir Ojha has demanded that a first information report be filed against Khan and Padukone, alleging that the song is objectionable and hurts the sentiments of the Hindu community.

Prasoon Joshi said in his statement that “trust between creators and audience is most important to protect”. Filmmakers need to keep working towards maintaining this trust, he said.

“I must reiterate that our culture and faith is glorious, intricate and nuanced,” Joshi added. “And we have to be careful that it does not get defined by trivia which takes the focus away from the real and the true.”

Pathaan, directed by Siddharth Anand and produced by Yash Raj Films, marks Shah Rukh Khan’s return to the big screen in a leading role after Zero (2018). Since Zero, Khan has appeared in cameos in Laal Singh Chaddha, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect and Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva.

In the film, Khan plays a Research and Analysis Wing agent. Apart from Padukone, the film stars John Abraham, Ashutosh Rana and Salman Khan in a guest appearance.