Bajirao and Mastani’s descendants object to songs

Udaysinh Peshwa, the descendant of Bajirao Peshwa, Awais Bahadur Nawab Sahab, the descendant of Mastani and Satyasheelraje Dabhade in Mumbai on Friday.—Photo: Vijay Soneji

Udaysinh Peshwa, the descendant of Bajirao Peshwa, Awais Bahadur Nawab Sahab, the descendant of Mastani and Satyasheelraje Dabhade in Mumbai on Friday.—Photo: Vijay Soneji  

Taking strong objection to the portrayal of Peshwa Bajirao and Mastani in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s new film Bajirao Mastani, the descendants of Bajirao and Mastani on Friday demanded that objectionable content in the historical romance be removed before the film’s release on December 18.

The two royal families from Pune and Indore came together in Mumbai to voice their objections to the film’s content and historical accuracy. They claimed two songs featuring Ranvir Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra had hurt their sentiments, and demanded they be removed before the film’s release.

The teasers of the two songs titled Pinga featuring Deepik and Priyanka, and Malhari featuring Ranvir Singh were released for publicity ahead of the film’s release. Ranvir Singh plays Bajirao, Priyanka plays Kashibai, his first wife, and Deepika plays Mastani, his second wife.

Udaisingh Peshwa, a direct descendant of Peshwa Bajirao, said, “The teasers of Pinga have hurt our sentiments. It is a historical impossibility that Kashibai and Mastani dance together or that Peshwa Bajirao danced in those days. The clothes the two actress are wearing is of low quality and in bad taste. We demand that the songs be removed, and the film shown to our families so that we can remove such inaccuracies.”

Awais Bahadur Nawab Saheb, a descendant of Mastani, said, “The title of this film should have been Shrimant Bajirao as he was a great Maratha warrior. Is there any king in our culture who makes his wives dance? The film-maker should have consulted us before showing such objectionable things.” He said his family has filed a petition in Indore High Court, and hinted at possible legal action if Mr Bhansali refuses to remove the content.

Shrimant Sardar Satyasheelraje Dabhade, a descendant of Umabai Khanderao Dabhade, the only woman commander-in-chief in the Maratha army, said, “The families of Bajirao and Dabhade were the key lieutenants of Shahu Maharaj who ruled the royal seat of Satara. If the depiction of Bajirao and Mastani is so poor, I dread to think how they have portrayed my ancestor Umabai.”

Asked if he was demanding a ban on the film, Mr Dabhade said, “No. Our intention is not to demand a ban on the film. We do not want historical inaccuracies in the film, and want the producer to show us the film. We will point out what is objectionable…” Mandar Lawate, a research scholar of Modi script, working with Pune-based Bharat Itihas Shanshodhak Mandal, said “There are four crore Modi script documents preserved at our institution, and there is no evidence to support the depictions in the two songs.” Mr Lawate said during his reign, Bajirao dedicated himself to the expansion of the Maratha territory.

Pune-based women’s activist Anuradha Sahastrabuddhe said, “The songs show the film-makers have taken the freedom of expression and creative liberties too far. The constitution has specified fundamental duties. You cannot depict historical women as improperly dressed. You cannot reduce history to item songs.” The families have written to PM Narendra Modi, CM Devendra Fadnavis, State Cultural Affairs Minister and the Censor Board, but have not received any response.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 1:47:19 AM |

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