It’s not been long when many Indian states saw violent protests against director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat. The film was accused of distorting the historical facts by the protesting groups. Now, another period film has started facing a similar opposition.
Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika is drawing opposition in Rajasthan on a similar ground. The film is based on the nineteenth-century queen of Jhansi, Laxmi Bai, a prominent figure in Indian modern history.
Addressing a press conference in Jaipur on Monday, Suresh Mishra, the president of the Sarva Brahman Mahasabha (SBM) alleged that the film Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi distorts history regarding Laxmi Bai and depicts a love affair between her and a British man.
“We learnt about it from our friends and acquaintances in various parts of Rajasthan where some scenes of the film are being shot. The film is based on a foreigner’s book and tries to dampen the queen’s reputation,” said Mishra.
He added that he sent letters to the film producer Kamal Jain enquiring about the writers of the film, profile of the historian consulted and details of songs in the film, if there are any. However, he did not receive any response from the producer which produces that his intentions are not good, alleged Mishra.
Laxmi Bai was a Bhrahim and therefore the organisation and community have queries as the film is related with Brahmin sentiments and emotions, the letter to the producer from the organisation read. “Nobody can even imagine that Maharani Laxmi Bai could have an affair. She died fighting the British at a young age. If a film is to be made on her life, it should be a biopic,” said Mishra, adding that the organisation is opposed to distorted portrayal of historical figures for commercial motives.
He also urged the state government to obtain an affidavit from the producers that no distortion of history should take place in the film. “If the same had been done in the case of Padmaavat, there would have been no issue at all,” he said.