Kriti Sanon downplays Panipat controversy: ‘We have had respect for the entire Peshwa family’
She’s been climbing up the ranks of Bollywood rapidly, and here she is, leading an Ashutosh Gowariker directed period epic Panipat! We meet up with actor Kriti Sanon at an upscale Delhi hotel, and she is at her usual chirpy self, eager to answer every question. We end up chatting longer than the time limit given to us by her team. Excerpts:
How did the film happen for you?
Ashu sir gave me a call, I have been waiting to work with him. I hadn’t done a historical before, so I was excited my first was with the best. He’s done many period films, and is a master. I went to hear the narration, and to be honest, I just knew basic stuff about the Panipat third war, like it happened, but we don’t remember kiske beech mein thi, we have to Google it. It’s important that some films are made on important historical events. Visual medium has a lot of power, to move you beyond just reading the info. It makes you relive that time, experience history all over again. It stays in your memory for a longer time.
How difficult was the prep for it, considering it is based on a real-life story? You must have had to read up a lot...
I tried to read about Parvati Bai, but there is not much info available online or anywhere else! Firstly, you have to surrender to your director. I am someone who does that completely, I am a director’s actor.There’s not much written about Parvati Bai. I feel a lot of her comes from Ashu sir and his imagination. The quality and traits in her which he chose to give. I feel he makes period film characters very contemporary, they are very relatable. He cannot see his women weak, which is a great thing.
Ashutosh’s previous films too had strong women characters, like Geeta in Swades, Jodha in Jodha Akbar. How would you describe your character?
In Jodha Akbar, you remember Jodha being absolutely strong. Similarly, he’s made Parvati Bai strong too, yet at the same time giving it layers. He’s made her a vaidya (physician). I don’t know how many women in that time even worked, let alone be a vaidya! When we imagine women from that time, we think she might be coy. But Parvati Bai is someone who’s very vocal about her feelings. Her love for Sadashiv Bhau… he is the one who’s shy, which is so new and today!
A descendant of Peshwa Bajirao sent a notice to makers of Panipat, over a dialogue your character mouths ‘Maine suna hai Peshwa jab akele muhim par jaate hain to ek Mastani ke saath laut te hain. What’s your take?
I also read it, and to be honest, I just want to say that when you watch the film, you will realise it’s been said in a very innocent manner, and it’s coming from just showing a wife’s insecurity and jealousy which women have. They are protective about their husband. When he is going away for a very long time, there is this sense of insecurity which is actually very sweet and innocent, which is coming out of love. We are not trying to disrespect anyone. Shamsher Bahadur, Bajirao and Mastani’s son plays a very important part in the film! His bravery has been shown throughout the film, so we have had respect for every individual and for the entire Peshwa family.
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