Akshay Kumar starrer Samrat Prithviraj is all set to release in the cinema halls on June 3. It is a historical action drama and after completing filming during the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes will be set on how it performs at the box office and whether or not it will be able to reel in viewers with its subject and treatment. Akshay essays the titular character in the film, while Miss World 2017 and debutante Manushi Chhillar plays Sanyogita. The movie has been filmed in extravagant sets and in real locations that try to replicate India of the 12th century.
However, ever since its announcement in September 2019, Samrat Prithviraj has been navigating controversies one after another. We take a look at how political roadblocks were created for the film ahead of its release.
In March 2020, Shri Rajput Karni Sena protested against the screening of Bollywood film Padmavat over 'tampering' of historical facts. Later, they blocked the shooting of the film on Prithviraj Chauhan. The Karni Sena activists reached the spot in Jaipur and asked the director Chandrapraksh Dwivedi to stop shooting. They alleged the film was being shot as a love story and not as a warrior's tale. The activists said the film shoot would be allowed only after vetting of the script by historians.
Kshatriya body objects to the movie title
In June 2021, Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha objected to the name of the movie on Prithviraj Chauhan and termed it an insult to the great ruler. The political body demanded a change in the title of the film immediately, adding the script should be approved by senior representatives of the Kshatriya Samaj and the screening of the film must also be done before the release while objectionable and distorted facts must be removed.
Akshay Kumar clarifies on film's authenticity
At the teaser launch event of the movie in November last year, Akshay Kumar said that they have tried to present Prithviraj's "life story in the most authentic way possible and the film is a homage to his unmatched bravery and courage".
Rajputs and Gujjar fight over Prithviraj Chahuhan's lineage
In December 2021, a row erupted over the lineage of Prithviraj Chauhan. The Gujjar and Rajput community staked claim on Prithviraj being from their community. The Bollywood movie also faced the fire. Gujjars warned that the film's release will be stalled if he is referred to as Rajput in the movie.
Karni Sena seeks ban on movie
In February 2022, public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on the release of the film on Prithviraj Chauhan is submitted in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. The petition sought a ban on the release of the movie, alleging it was presenting a 'wrong and vulgar' picture of Prithviraj, a Hindu emperor, and hence it hurt sentiments.
Prithviraj's director clarifies factual accuracy
After multiple protests and objections, filmmaker and historian Chandraprakash Dwivedi said that he lived with the story of Prithviraj Chauhan for 18 years before deciding to make it into a big screen entertainer. "Prithviraj's final research took about six months for me to be fully satisfied that every single fact was checked multiple times," he said.
Movie's title is changed
A week before release, the title of Prithviraj gets changed to Samrat Prithviraj. The move comes after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Shree Rajput Karni Sena, through Advocate Raghavendra Mehrotra.
(With inputs from news agencies)