Protestors vandalize Jaipur multiplexes, claim ‘Panipat’ distorts history
Protests against Bollywood movie Panipat intensified across Rajasthan with a few local people vandalizing a multiplex in Jaipur on Monday afternoon. Members of the Jat community have launched an agitation and are demanding a ban on the film alleging facts have been distorted.
The movie allegedly depicts Bharatpur king Maharaja Surajmal as a greedy emperor, who wanted to conquer the Red Fort of Agra and refused to help the Maratha army in the Battle of Panipat.
Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Gupta said that the incident took place around 2.30 pm in the afternoon. “A few protestors pelted stones and damaged the glass doors of the multiplex located near the Amrapali Circle falling under the limits of Vaishali Nagar police station. A police team was rushed to the spot within a few minutes and the situation was brought under control. Nobody was injured,” he said.
The additional CP added that so far five people had been detained. “The police is questioning those detained and also checking the CCTV footages to identify the accused. Securities across various cinemas and multiplexes have been beefed up. Further investigation is on,” Gupta added.
Protestors also gathered in front of Raj Mandir cinema around 2.30 pm and burnt posters of the film. In Bharatapur also, many protestors came out on the streets and called for a Bharatpur bandh against the alleged distortion of facts in the movie. A number of people gathered on the streets and demanded a ban on the film.
In Bikaner too, many protestors gathered in front of a cinema hall and forcefully tried to close the doors. However, the police convinced them and dispersed the crowd within minutes.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted, “Before making a film one must make sure to show one’s personality in the right perspective so that there is no controversy. I believe that art, artists should be respected but they should also take care that great men and gods of any caste, religion, class, should not be insulted.”
In another tweet the CM added, “The reactions that are coming in about the portrayal of Maharaja Surajmalji in the film… such a situation should not have arisen. The censor board should intervene and take cognizance of it. Distributors should immediately have a dialogue with the people of the Jat community regarding the film.”
Cabinet minister Vishvendra Singh demanded a ban on the film and tweeted on Sunday evening, “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. In 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.
Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje had also accused Panipat director Ashutosh Gowariker, of portraying Maharaja Surajmal in a ‘wrong light’, which she said, was ‘condemnable.’ “The portrayal of a loyal, devoted and kind-hearted emperor, Maharaja Surajmal in the film ‘Panipat’ by the filmmaker in wrong light is condemnable,” Raje tweeted in Hindi.
She had also said in a statement, “The wrong depiction of self-respecting, faithful and ‘hriday samrat’ Maharaja Surajmal in the film Panipat is condemnable.”
A few historians have also objected to the parts shown in the film. Historian Mahendra Singh Sikarwar, who has written a book on Bharatpur history, said the Red Fort of Agra was already under Maharaja Surajmal’s kingdom before the Battle of Panipat. “Maharaja Surajmal spoke only Braj language but the film shows him speaking a different language,” he said.