Actor Arjun Kapoor believes people in India like to be told the stories of famous historical victories and that is probably why the tale of third Battle of Panipat never got played on the big screen.
The actor stars in Ashutosh Gowariker’s lavishly mounted period drama Panipat, which chronicles the 1761 battle fought between the Marathas, under the leadership of Sadashivrao Bhau, and the invading Afghan army, led by Ahmad Shah Abdali, essayed by Sanjay Dutt in the film.
Arjun says people are always interested in the end result of a conflict and not in its causalities or aftermath.
“In our country, we are more interested about the end result. It is very result-based sometimes. But we are not interested in the journey or what changed after the incident. Sometimes the causalities are also important. The result is just a terminology.
“There have been so many circumstances where things might have not gone exactly as per the plan but still there has been a positive output because of the event,” the actor told PTI in an interview.
He believes that no one thought of telling this story simply because the Marathas lost the battle.
“After the battle, no one from Afghanistan invaded India ever again. You wonder why, since we lost the battle. They won, so they should have stayed around but they didn’t. The win is just in terms of how many people gave their lives.
“So, yes, maybe because of that people might have thought that this story is not worth telling. But if you dive into it, the politics of the time, the setup of the time, who was against who and who sided with whom, then that is equally fascinating, and not so much the result alone,” he adds.
And Panipat is not the only story to be told from the perspective of the losing side. Arjun cites the example of Akshay Kumar-starrer Kesari.
“In ‘Kesari’, the Sikhs were not able to stop the invasion, but the film was still made, and it did really well. It was the Battle of Saragarhi for that community and that tribe. For Peshwas and Marathas, the Battle of Panipat is important to show because there was valour, pride and tremendous amount of patriotism for our country even then.”
Ever since the first trailer of the film hit the internet, there have been constant comparisons of the movie with Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra’s Bajirao Mastani. Both the films share the same setting of 18th century Maratha empire.
Ask him if in the age of social media it has become difficult for two films, which share the same genre and setting, to co-exist successfully, Arjun says there are so many different stories of the time that must be told and one should not be afraid of comparisons.
“It’s like saying that there shouldn’t be another war film because ‘Uri’ has been made. That’s not possible because there are so many untold stories. Today, if we want to tell the story of Abhinandan Varthaman, then we shouldn’t make it just because ‘Uri’ has been made.
“Similarly, ‘Tanhaji’ shouldn’t exist after the release of ‘Panipat’. Tomorrow, if someone wants to tell the story of Chattrapati Shivaji, then should we stop them just because the story has been told many times before. So, I think there are too many stories to be told for us to be bound by the era they are set in.”
Comparisons between films, Arjun says, will keep happening because it is in the inherent nature of Indians.
“We compare cars and clothes when we go shopping. It is our habit. It is a part and parcel of our personality. And there is nothing wrong with it.”
Panipat, which also features Kriti Sanon, is scheduled to be released on December 6.
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