Panipat -- a film chronicling the story of Third Battle of Panipat -- is facing massive criticism throughout the country. From Rajasthan to Haryana, Ashutosh Gowariker's Panipat has been discontinued by the management of nearly half of theatres in wake of protests against the film. Questions are also being raised on censor board's certification to the film. But why? Here is an explainer on the controversy surrounding film 'Panipat':
Panipat is a movie revolving around the story of Third Battle of Panipat fought between the Maratha empire and Afghan king Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761. It is facing criticism by Jat groups and political leaders, including state ministers, over the portrayal of legendary Jat ruler Maharaja Surajmal. The Plato of the Jat people or 'Jat Odysseus' -- that's how Maharaja Surajmal was described by some. He was killed in an ambush by the Mughal Army on the night of December 25, 1763 near Hindon River in Delhi's Shahadra.
Those protesting against 'Panipat' say that the movie depicts Maharaja Surajmal in an unseemly light. In the movie, Maratha warrior Sadashiv Rao Bhau, played by Arjun Kapoor, asked Maharaja Surajmal for help to defeat the Afghans but he demanded Agra Fort in return. He refused to help Sadashiv as his demand for Agra Fort remained unfulfiled. Historian Ramveer Sharma, however, claims otherwise. He said the movie showed wrong facts as Agra was already under Maharaja Surajmal. Maharaja Surajmal went to the Maratha camp and saved many women and children who were taken to Gwalior and Deeg Forts, he said.
There have been more objections to film 'Panipat'. Some protested against the use of Rajasthani and Haryanvi in the film, claiming Maharaja Surajmal only spoke Braj language.
Panipat's screening was stopped at almost half of the cinemas on Tuesday. The screening has been completely stopped in Jaipur and also at other places in the state including Bikaner, Nagaur, Ganganagar, Jodhpur, Hanumangarh since Monday. The film was released in 55-60 cinema halls across the state. Protests were held at various places including Faridabad, Ballabhgarh and Kaithal Haryana.
Meanwhile, two Lok Sabha members from Rajasthan raised the issue during Zero Hour and demanded a ban on Panipat. Rashtriya Loktantrik Party's Hanuman Beniwal said sentiments of people in Rajasthan and Haryana have been hurt by the movie. He demanded that either the film be banned by the Central Board of Film Certification or relevant scenes be removed. Rajasthan government has sought a response from film
producers over objections to the movie.