Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda
A day after a prominent Jat body demanded a ban on the screening of Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Panipat”, several senior leaders from Haryana, including Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chaudhary Birender Singh and Kuldeep Bishnoi, questioned the filmmakers over hurting community’s sentiments.
This came even as leaders of All India Jat Aarakshan Sanghrash Samiti (AIJASS) in Jind and Sirsa met the respective district administration officials to stop the screening of the film. Several community members also held protests at Faridabad, Ballabhgarh and Kaithal alleging that the movie depicts legendary Jat ruler Maharaja Surajmal in an unseemly light.
In a tweet, Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi said that the film should be released only after the controversial parts are removed. “Hurting of sentiments of any society through a film is condemnable. The government should take immediate steps. Before producing a film, the depiction of a person in right perspective should be ensured,” said Bishnoi.
Claiming that Jats and farmers are hurt over the matter, former Union Minister Birender Singh said that he would like that the Jats and social bodies take up the matter with Censor Board and Union Broadcasting Minister. Singh said he has received information that the 18th century ruler of Bharatpur, Maharaja Suraj Mal has wrongly been portrayed in the movie.
Speaking to the journalists at his office in Haryana Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh on Tuesday, Power Minister Ranjit Chautala said that senior-most leader of Marathas, Madhavrao Scindia in Sirsa (in 1993) had stated that “they have enjoyed good relations with Jats”. “Scindia had also stated that when Marathas had been hemmed in during the battle of Panipat, the Jats had escorted their women family members to Gwalior under their protection honourably. (Some film) producers and directors exploit some matters as per their convenience,” said Chautala, an independent MLA and younger son of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal.
AIJASS general secretary Ashok Balhara said that the Haryana state executive of the samiti has urged the state government to ban the movie in the state. “Our leaders will meet officials on Wednesday too,” he added.
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij, meanwhile, said those who make films on historical characters should thoroughly go into all historical facts associated with various characters they are going to show in their film. “The producers should deeply study the history before making films on history. They should not do any such act, which hurts the sentiments of the people,”said Vij.
On protests breaking out against the film, he said while everyone has a democratic right to protest in a peaceful manner, but no one would be allowed to take law and order into one’s hands.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda too said the filmmakers should do their homework properly while making films on historical characters. “I am not saying this with regards to this film only, but I would say any filmmaker should not twist historical facts for commercial gains. Maharaja Surajmal is known as a brave and generous ruler. Before any film on such topics is made, producers should thoroughly verify the historical facts,” Hooda, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, said.
Asked about the demands to ban the film, Hooda said, “Objectionable scenes should be removed from the film.”
AIJASS national president Yashpal Malik had alleged earlier that the movie, featuring Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon, portrays Bharatpur king Maharaja Surajmal in an unseemly manner. “The legendary ruler, Maharaja Surajmal has been depicted in an unseemly light and historical facts have been distorted in the film, ‘Panipat’,” he had alleged.
The movie is based on the third battle of Panipat fought between the Maratha empire and Afghan king Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761.