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New Indian movie on Panipat battle roils Afghans

New Indian movie on Panipat battle roils Afghans

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6 Nov 2019 - 12:19
New Indian movie on Panipat battle roils Afghans
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6 Nov 2019 - 12:19

KABUL (Pajhwok): A new Indian movie on Ahmad Shah Abdali Baba’s third battle of Panipat has sparked concerns among Afghans, who view the film as an insult to the former king.

This movie has the theme of the 3rd Battle of Panipat between the Maratha Empire and Abdali Baba on January 14, 1761. Abdali won the battle after killing more than 50,000 Indian soldiers.

The movie has been made by veteran Indian film director Ashutosh Gowarikerm, who has also directed critically-acclaimed movies Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar.

Senior Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt stars as Abdali, with Arjun Kapoor acting as the Maratha emperor and Kriti Sanon as his spouse.

The movie, whose trailer is already out, features Afghan actor from Paktika province Babrak Akbarim who plays the role of a loyal guard of Sanjay Dutt (Abdali Baba).

Yet to be shown on the big screen, the film is scheduled to be released in the first week of December. But some Afghans have voiced concerns that the movie is an affront to Ahmad Shah Baba. They claim the Battle of Panipat has not been put in a proper historical perspective.

Facebook user Aziz Ahmad Zaland urged the Afghan government to take measures to ensure that Kabul-Delhi relations were not harmed as a result of the release of this movie (Panipat)

Rana Durani Ghorzang also asked the government to take a look at the movie before it was released.

Former Afghan ambassador to India Shaida Abdali tweeted: “The Indian cinema has historically played a key role in strengthening relations between Afghanistan and India. I hope that our shared values and history have been taken into consideration.”

Indian journalist Awik Sign also tweeted: “People of Afghanistan have huge respect to Abdali, but people in India hate him. I don’t think history has been displayed properly. India and Afghanistan have strong relations but these kinds of movies only earn money, serving no other purpose.”

Acting Afghan Ambassador to India Tahir Qadiri told Pajhwok Afghan News the movie was yet to be released and its content were yet to be determined.

“We are in contact with Indian officials and have shared the Afghans’ concern with them.

Ajmal Alamzai, cultural attaché at the Afghan embassy in New Delhi, said he came to know two years ago about the movie and launched an investigation in this regard.

“We have emailed the film director to share the scenario with us but he didn’t. We have tried several times to contact the director, but failed.”

He added film officials had told them that sharing the movie content was against their policy, because it diminishes the value of the film in the market.

Alamzai said he had contacted India’s ministry of information on the issue. The ministry responded it could not interfere with policy of the film company.

He recalled Shaida Abdali had also met the governor of Maharashtra, where the Hollywood is headquartered, and shared the issue with him. The Indian official promised assessing the movie, but no action has been taken so far.

Later on, Afghan Consul General in Mumbai Salehi met the film director and said historical facts, and nothing else, had been portrayed, Alamzai continued.

The Afghan embassy in Delhi had sent letters to the Ministries of Culture and Information and Foreign Affairs to track the issue at the highest level.

He believed the name of the film, sounding dangerous, had sparked concerns. He said the movie’s title suggested it was against Afghanistan.

Sanjay Dutt tweeted: “Ahmad Shah Abdali – Death strikes where his shadow falls.”

Afghan actor Babrak Akbari said in a video message: “I’m along with Sanjay Dutt in the movie. I also came to know of concerns through WatsApp, Facebook and Messenger that the movie would show a bad image of Ahmad Shah Baba. But there is nothing like that in the film.”

He insisted the movie was based on real history. “If it contained anything against Afghanistan, I would have never worked in it.” Akbari added.

The 3rd Battle of Panipat was won by Afghans but the film trailer shows Indians as winners.


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