Home International News 'Samrat Prithviraj' has reached where no film has gone so far in...

‘Samrat Prithviraj’ has reached where no film has gone so far in the agenda of Hindutva ML-News

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Hindi films depend on the audience of every section of the population and every religion for success. But this time here we have a film which is needed only by the (hardcore) Hindu audience.

Akshay Kumar in the movie Samrat Prithviraj. (Credits: YouTube/Yashraj Films)

In recent years, Hindi films have raised the saffron flag in the true sense. Medieval tales, sometimes based on fiction and myth, have been turned into epic battles—in which Hindu kings defeat barbaric and ruthless Muslim robbers on a cinematic screen.

The virtuous Hindu king repeatedly proclaims his Hindu identity with a loud voice and makes it appear that he is waging a crusade. It ties very well to the new ultra-nationalist, Hindutva agenda of the current regime. But now a film has gone where no other film had stepped.

A print advertisement of the recently released film Samrat Prithviraj proudly proclaims: ‘Let us sing the praises of the last Hindu emperor of India’. There is no doubt or confusion here. Till date, no one has openly confined its message to a particular community in such clear terms.

The reality is that Hindi films depend on audiences from every section of the population and of every religion for success. Here we have come across a film which is needed only by the (hardcore) Hindu audience.

Advertisement of the film published in the newspaper.

If you think this is just an advertisement affair, then you must watch its trailer. Amidst the roar of Tilak and ‘Harihar’ on the forehead, there is no doubt about the intention of the film.

This film tells us the story of Prithviraj Chauhan, who ruled the present Rajasthan and Delhi in the 12th century. After defeating Ghori many times, in the end whom Ghori defeated and took his captive.

Prithviraj, whose love for Sanyogita was taught in schools, has been featured in films and on television several times, but the grandeur with which he was portrayed in the recent film starring Akshay Kumar, the poster boy of Indian nationalism Never happened before.

Here are some other things, which come as a riddle – why is he called the last Hindu emperor?

Of course, over the next few centuries there were many more kings, whom the Hindutva brigade presents as defenders of the religion (though this too is highly disputed). A film has been made on Bajirao, Tanhaji (both of the 18th century). And let us not forget about the self-sacrificing Padmavati (14th century), who chose to commit Jauhar instead of handing herself over to the wicked Alauddin Khilji, whose story is narrated in the super-dramatic Padmavat.

All these films portrayed Muslims as unscrupulous heroes and glorified Hindus, even if they had to glorify Sati for doing so. Along with this, films have also been made on the two Hindu emperors of our lifetime – Bal Thackeray and Narendra Modi.

However, the way this film speaks its words directly without twisting, leaving the tradition of talking in gestures, it is a milestone according to Hindi cinema. And while on the one hand it paves the way for more brazen commercials in the future, on the other hand it firmly closes the road to the past for Hindi cinema and (Indian sense) which has already been fanciful. Looks like.

Was there really a time when India believed in secularism and the Indian government encouraged it?

These values ​​were reflected in Hindi films and Hindu-Muslim harmony was a regular theme. The Muslim character was usually either that of a kind uncle or loyal friend or of a beautiful lady. But it was never a villain and even more so, it was never a traitor.

It was equally a vision beyond reality, but nonetheless it did no harm and showed the values ​​that were ingrained in our existence—or at least we saw it as such.

Two films spanning a decade and a half give us an idea of ​​what India was like and how it was represented in popular culture.

The first film was Dharmaputra (1961), directed by young Yash Chopra, whose son’s company Yash Raj Films now produced Samrat Prithviraj.

Chopra made his directorial debut just two years ago with the film Dhool Ka Phool, the song of which You will become a Hindu or a Muslim, Every lip was covered.

Mala Sinha and Shashi Kapoor in a still from the film Dharmaputra poster. (courtesy: wikipedia/NFAI)

Dharmaputra depicts how a boy grows up as a fanatic Hindu, who is thirsty for the blood of Muslims. But he is later shocked to learn that he himself may be the child of a Muslim. This was an unusual theme for Hindi commercial films, but it was perfectly aligned with the national consciousness of its time.

In 1977, the king of masala films Manmohan Desai directed Amar Akbar Anthony. Like Desai’s other films, it was a simple-to-earn film, filled with his clichéd formula – childhood estranged brothers, Impossible Se Sanyog, Divine Law and popular songs.

The presence of not one but many top stars of its time made the film icing on the cake. The film’s credits follow a sequence of three young brothers giving blood to a blind woman who has been hit by a car and—another unlikely coincidence—that woman is none other than them. She is the mother of three.

The title card of the film depicts each one of them, who grew up following different religions, but as the film reminds us, they are brothers. This message does not remain without reaching every person watching the film.

Desai was no art filmmaker, but it can be said with confidence that through his film’s secular message, he reached far more people than any serious film by any critically acclaimed art filmmaker.

A scene from the movie Amar Akbar Anthony. (courtesy: youtube)

Amar Akbar Anthony was not a film to go to the International Film Festival, nor would Desai have been interested in it. He used to often ask Shabana Azmi to bring extreme drama in his acting. His argument was that his films are not Satyajit Ray’s films. But it was a perfect fit for the Indian audience and people still love this film.

Can either of these two films be made today and would the so called guards of Hindutva allow them to be made?

There is little room for this – unchecked Hindutva fanatics would find much of it objectionable. The first film, Dharmaputra, not only angered the Hindutva right wing, but no filmmaker would have dared to venture into a film that was bound to be the wrath of saffron gangs.

The portrayal of a radical anti-Muslim right wing, who later turns out to be Muslim, would have been considered cross-border and provocative. Rather the truth is that this main character would have been shown as a hero, as a warrior walking on the path of a dharma, who is doing the right thing.

As far as the second film is concerned, even this would have been forbidden. Brotherhood between Hindu-Muslim-Christian? This is a very dangerous idea for today’s India.

If nothing else, the raging mob censoring the films would have forced the filmmaker to show everyone converting to Hinduism in the end, while Manmohan Desai cleverly left the question unanswered. The Hindu hero in the film would have been a patriot, a Muslim almost a terrorist, a convert of Christian people. Otherwise the crowd of religious guards would not allow this film to be screened.

Which irresponsible director would want to make a film under these circumstances?

One can argue that Emperor Prithviraj reflects the values ​​of a small waqf, but are these really national values ​​or just the values ​​of violent and noisy mobs supported by power and government machinery, aimed at their Hindutva You have to impose your will on those who do not obey.

A large number of Indians, despite being devout Hindus, do not believe in their Hindutva. These people do not lynching those who have different views, nor do they silence others by speaking in a loud voice.

So, it may be that the creators of Emperor Prithviraj and those who put money in it will be shocked. Maybe they understand that they can’t just rely on hardline Hindutvaists to make a profit from a very big budget film. Not every one of them is going to stand in a queue outside the theatre.

If the box office figures do not turn out as expected, the Hindu tide of cinema will calm down, as has happened with many other favorite subjects of Hindi cinema.

(Click here to read this article in English.)

Categories: india special society

Tagged as: Akshay Kumar, Bigotry, BJP, Bollywood, Cinema, Films, Hindi films, Hindu, Hindu king, Hindutva, India, Manushi Chhillar, Muslims, News, Samrat Prithviraj, Secularism, Social Divide, The Wire

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