JAIPUR: Bollywood director Ashutosh Gowariker’s historical ‘Panipat’ has run into big trouble in Rajasthan. People from the Jat community are protesting against the recently released film and demanding a ban on the film. The agitators claim the movie allegedly shows Bharatpur king Maharaja Surajmal as a greedy emperor who did not help the Maratha army in the Panipat battle as he himself wanted to conquer the Red Fort of Agra.
After burning an effigy of Gowariker at Bharatpur on Sunday, Jat protestors on Monday vandalized a theatre in Jaipur where the movie 'Panipat' was being screened. The protestors claim that the movie has hurt the sentiments of the Jat community as it portrays Maharaja Surajmal in the wrong light. In addition, members of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party also staged a protest against the movie outside Jaipur’s famous Raj Mandir Cinema Hall.
Protests against the film were also strongly organised in Bharatpur. Rajasthan Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh who belongs to Bharatpur’s former royal family has also joined the protests and demanded a ban on the screening of Gowariker's "Panipat" in North India to avoid a law and order situation, given the protests against the film in Bharatpur.
Vishvendra Singh remarked on Twitter that : "It is unfortunate that the legendary Jat ruler, Maharajah Surajmal has been depicted in an unseemly light and historical facts have been distorted in the film, "Panipat". He also added : "In the light of the vociferous protest by the Jat community in Haryana, Rajasthan and other regions of North India, I believe that the film should be banned to avoid a law and order situation."
Opposition leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje has also alleged that the movie, featuring Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon, portrays Bharatpur king Maharaja Surajmal in an unseemly manner. "The mistaken portrayal of the self-respecting, loyal and large hearted emperor Maharaja Surajmal in the film 'Panipat' by the filmmaker is condemnable," Raje tweeted.
Speaking on the protest, the Additional Commissioner, Jaipur Ajay Pal Lamba said: "The police have been alerted to control the situation following the protests against the movie. We have contacted protestors and warned them not to obstruct the legal process during the protest."
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has asserted that it is a ‘prerogative’ of the government to probe if facts are incorrectly portrayed in the new film 'Panipat'. While speaking on the row, Gehlot said that the related departments will examine the issue.Gehlot also urged the Censor Board to take note of the claims that the film had wrongly portrayed Maharaja Surajmal and asked distributors of Panipat to have a dialogue with Rajasthan's Jat community.
In a statement in Hindi, Gehlot said : "The reactions that are coming about the portrayal of Maharaja Surajmal ji in the film... such a situation should not have been created,. The Censor Board should intervene and take cognisance. Distributors should immediately hold a dialogue with people of the Jat community on screening of the film."
The movie is based on the third battle of Panipat fought between the Maratha empire and Afghan king Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761 and stars Bollywood biggies like Sanjay Dutt, Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon .