Movie theatres in Jaipur said on Monday they will stop screening the film Panipat until further orders, days after its release prompted protests from royal families in Rajasthan and Jat groups. The film, directed by Ashutosh Govarikar, tells the story of the Third Battle of Panipat fought in 1761 between the Marathas and Afghan King Ahmad Shah Abdali.
The management at some cinema halls said the shows were cancelled after they received instructions from the state administration. The screening, they said, will resume only after further orders.
Rajasthan government, on the orders of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, has asked distributor to put the screening of the film on hold until the controversy is resolved. "We respect art and culture but no one's sentiments should be hurt. This is why we talked to film distributors and said a solution to this is to be found. It would be better if the film was screened after the people are convinced," Mr Gehlot said.
The Chief Minister had also asked the censor board to intervene "and take cognisance of it" after one of his ministers called for the film's ban.
Rajasthan minister Vishvendra Singh had alleged the film, released on December 6, shows his ancestor Maharaja Surajmal of Bharatpur, as not helping the Maratha army while they were retreating after the battle. The minister said the film's portrayal of Maharaja Surajmal has hurt the sentiments of Jats.
"It is very sad that a great man like Maharaja Surajmal Jat of Bharatpur has been depicted in the film Panipat in a very wrong way while tampering with historical facts. I believe that the film should be banned in view of the huge opposition in the Jat community of Haryana, Rajasthan and North India, otherwise, the law and order of the country may deteriorate," the minister in the Ashok Gehlot government said in a statement.
The Chief Minister had earlier said the government will look into the matter if needed. "I have not seen the movie. It is a prerogative of the government. If any such incident is there in the movie, the concerned departments must be looking into it. It will be shown," Mr Gehlot told reporters.
Panipat stars Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Kriti Sanon.
In January last year, hundreds of supporters of fringe groups like the Karni Sena ran amok across several states protesting violently against the release of Bollywood film Padmaavat. The protesters claimed the film distorts history and shows Rani Padmini, the legendary queen of Chittor, in a poor light. The film, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, and Shahid Kapur, was cleared by the censor board after a number of edits and a change of title from Padmavati to Padmaavat.