Panipat, the recently released film starring Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon, has been facing massive protests in Rajasthan and Haryana. Cabinet minister and BJP MLA Vishvendra Singh has now joined protesters saying the movie distorts history. Singh, who is a descendant of Maharaja Surajmal of the erstwhile Kingdom of Bharatpur, claimed the movie has depicted the king in an improper manner. Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also demanded a ban on the film.
BJP lawmaker Vishvendra Singh on Sunday evening tweeted that Jat ruler, Maharaja Surajmal is depicted in the wrong way in the movie. The film, it is said, shows Surajmal not aiding the Marathas while history records the Maharaja’s participation differently. Singh said that in the wake of vehement protests by the Jat community in Rajasthan, Haryana and other regions of North India, the movie should be banned as soon as possible.
Former Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje also said that Panipat director Ashutosh Gowariker portrayed Maharaja Surajmal in a wrong way. She added the portrayal of the loyal, devoted and kind-hearted king in a wrong light is condemnable.
Hundreds of people from the Jat community staged a protest against the movie on Sunday. The protest intensified on Monday as men vandalised a cinema hall in Jaipur, the Rajasthan capital. Protesters burnt an effigy of Gowariker. The aggrieved Jats have warned the director that their protest will be intensified if the portrayal of the character was not changed.
The movie revolves around events leading to the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. Arjun Kapoor plays the character of Sadashiv Rao Bhau, who is the protagonist in this film. Bhau led the Maratha army during the war against Afghan invader Ahmad Shah Abdali (played by Sanjay Dutt). The defeat of the Marathas ended their hegemony over northern India and the East India Company gained ascendancy. The Mughal Empire had dwindled into a minor entity then.