Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming movie Bajirao Mastani has been in the news since its trailer has been out. And recently when the new song of the film, ‘Pinga’ was released, the reactions have been mixed from all the sections. Some praised the song and Priyanka Chopra-Deepika Padukone performance, some criticised it. According to a leading daily, now Mohini Karkarey, who is a descendant of the Peshwas, has written an open letter to Bhansali where she has hit out at him. In the letter she has claimed that Kashibai could not have danced because she was suffering from arthritis. Karkarey has also claimed that Mastani was not a courtesan, but the daughter of Raja Chatrasaal of Bundelkhand.
Here is the text of the full letter:
The time has now come to speak out, to speak out against the picturization in the song and certain scenes from your movie, Bajirao Mastani. The latest song Pinga and the dance sequence which you have promoted have a lot of undesirable elements. This is not fiction, Mr Bhansali. You have portrayed real people who have been recorded in history. The Peshwas ruled for more than 100 years. Did you do any research at all? Did you, for instance, understand the life and times of people in the 1700s? Do you know and understand their behavioural pattern?
Here are a few recorded facts for your perusal:
Fact 1: Kashibai Saheb was suffering from tuberculosis and had arthritis. Due to this she had a limp.
Fact 2: Kashibai would never get into a dance routine even if she was healthy because that was not in the culture.
Fact 3: The costumes shown in the song Pinga were never worn by royal families or even normal women. The way the nauvari was draped did not show even an ounce of skin.
Fact 4: Kashibai and Mastani met only once in their lifetime and that too formally.
Fact 5: Kashibai was the daughter of Mahadji Krishna Joshi from Chaas and was known as Chaskar Joshi. Her descendants are still alive.
Fact 6: Mastani was not a courtesan or dancer. She was the daughter of Raja Chatrasaal of Bundelkhand. She was married to Bajirao and was his second wife. Mastani’s descendants, the Nawabs of Banda, will give you enough proof of this.
Proof of all the facts is available on Peshwe Gharanyacha Itihas by Mr Pramod Oak and you will find plenty more proof here in Peshwe Daptar.
Bajirao was a great warrior second only to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. With this so called love story, you have made a mockery of him. You have insulted the very essence of Maharashtrian families. This will definitely create a flawed image about such a great personality and his family.
With Mohini lashing out at SLB, it has given a new perspective to the controversy; to what extent our filmmakers tweak the biopics? Do the changes made in the name of creative inputs are valid? How far can you temper with the facts and the story presentation?
In the past, when director Ashutosh Gowariker had made ‘Jodha-Akbar’, on the life of famous Mughal ruler, King Akbar, the movie received a lot of flak from many sections in the society. Despite many voices being raised, it was a commercial success. But one cannot ignore the fact, how much creative freedom can a filmmaker take with a treatment of biopic story for the big screen, is yet to be figured out!