The angry descendants of Peshwa Bajirao and Mastani today (December 4) expressed their disapproval and disgust at the portrayal of their ancestors by Sanjay Leela Bhansali in his magnum opus, Bajirao Mastani. Descendants, who came together to share their grievances included UdaySinh Peshwa (Descendant of Bajirao Peshwa), Awais Bahadur Nawab Saheb, Nawab Zulfiqar Bahadur IV, Shaheen Bahadur, Nawab Usman Bahadur (ninth generation descendants of Mastani) and Sardar Sathyasheelraje Dabhade (descendant of commander-in-chief, Umabaisaheb Dabhade).
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The controversy, which broke out after Pinga song featuring Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone was released, has now snowballed into a bigger issue with the descendants flaying Bhansali for wrongful portrayal of iconic historical characters under the guise of cinematic liberty.
Expressing deep disapproval over what they feel is vulgar display of women in the song Pinga, Dr. Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, a social activist from Pune said, “Pinga is not actually performed the way it has been depicted in the movie. It is a traditional cultural game that is played in women’s gatherings and definitely not a Dola re Dola kind of an item song with the body showing. It will not be allowed and none of us will tolerate it. We want the songs to be deleted.”
Taking strong objection to the choreography of fight sequences, Sardar Sathyasheelraje Dabhade said, “Liberty taken by Mr.Bhansali is not right. You cannot tarnish somebody’s image. You cannot have Bajirao jumping to reach an elephant’s head. History has to be shown as it is. There were many families that were involved in that era. There were other important characters but right now they are showing just Bajirao, Mastani and Kashibai. What about our family? We have also shed blood.”
Uday Sinh Peshwa expressed his disgust at Sanjay Leela Bhansali renegading the promise made to the Peshwa descendants when they visited the sets. Said Uday, “When my family was invited on sets, we were just shown one set and nothing else. We had requested Bhansali to keep everything according to true history. He had promised that the film would be excellent. But what we have seen in the trailer have left us deeply disappointed. There is a scene where Ranveer Singh is shown pouring water over Priyanka Chopra’s head. Those are private moments. How can you show that? We agree with cinematic liberty but the dignity of the person should be kept intact.”
Mastani’s descendants also protested against the now popular dialogue ‘Bajirao ne Mastani se mohabbat ki hai, aiashi nahi’ terming it downright vulgar and shameful.
While Peshwa descendants had no problem with the actors (Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra) essaying the roles, Mastani descendants were not convinced with the actors chosen to play their ancestors.
For the moment, the families have demanded the movie to be screened for them. Accusing Bhansali of eluding their requests for a meeting, the families members said, “There has been no communication from Bhansali’s end and he has not responded to our calls or letters. Neither have we received any response to our letters written to the CM or cultural minister.”
While the film is based on the book of Rau, Uday Sinh Peshwa asserted that the book itself was a fictional account and one with mistakes.
The family members also made it clear that they want the movie to be released but with the removal of the objectionable scenes that have been causing them much stress. However, the families are still undecided on the course of action to be adopted should Sanjay Leela Bhansali not agree to their demands.