Bajirao Mastani shows cancelled after BJP protests
Three shows of "Bajirao Mastani" were cancelled in Pune's City Pride theatre after protests from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The protesters claimed that historical facts relating to the era of the Peshwa rulers were distorted in Bajirao Mastani which was released today. Furthermore, the protesters claimed that the depiction of Kashibai (played by Priyanka Chopra) lowered the dignity of a historical figure.
Produced and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bajirao Mastani is an Indian historical romance set in the 1700s. The film follows the story of Peshwa Bajirao I (1700-1740) of the Maratha Empire and his second wife Mastani (1699-1740). Actor Ranveer Singh plays the role of Peshwa Bajirao, Mastani's role is being played by Deepika Padukone, and Priyanka Chopra plays Bajirao's first wife Kashibai.
The casting of the movie took over 10 years. Originally Salman Khan and Aishwariya Rai were cast in the movie.
Bajirao Mastani's newly released song 'Pinga' faced severe opposition from Peshwa descendants regarding the portrayal of Kashibai and Mastani. Priyanka Chopra, addressing the protesters said: "The film is based on the book 'Rau'...Please, look at it as a beautiful rendition of epic saga...and nothing more." However, Sanjay Leela Bhansali avoided the press conference on the pretext of having to attend an urgent appointment.
The head of an NGO in Pune filed a plea seeking to ban Bajirao Mastani for distorting historical facts which could hurt the sentiments of descendants of the involved dynasties. However, a Pune court dismissed the plea saying that the accusations didn't amount to a public nuisance. The complaint was also forwarded to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis urging the government to take action.
Descendants of the Peshwa and Chhatrasal dynasties gathered at Shaniwarwada, the ancestral capital of the Peshwas, to organize a protest against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's upcoming film "Bajirao Mastani". Trailers, promotional videos and songs of Bajirao Mastani, scheduled for release on December 18, were condemned by the protesters for distorting historical facts. The protesters also burnt an effigy of Bhansali during the protest.
Kothrud's BJP MLA Medha Kulkarni who was also a part of the 12 December protest is the descendant of the Chhatrasal dynasty from which Mastani hailed.
Ranveer Singh, who plays the role of Peshwa Bajirao in "Bajirao Mastani" spoke out against criticism levelled at the film. The actor clarified that a disclaimer at the beginning of the film will state that the movie is fictitious in nature. "We are not making a documentary or a propaganda based film. This is a mainstream commercial film," the actor said in a statement.
Bajirao Mastani which is already facing flak in India, may not get screened in Pakistan. The Censor Board in Pakistan is yet to clear the film. Mobasher Hasan, chairman of the Pakistani Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) clarified that their "ordinance does not allow Hindi films to be screened," and "it is a historical drama that is indirectly against Islam and Muslims."