My father Jayraj Salgaokar is a researcher and a biographer of Peshwa Bajirao I. And this is his frustration at the Pinga and all that nonsense that is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani. I have translated this from Marathi.
The creative liberties taken by Sanjay Leela Bhansali while making his latest film Bajirao Mastani are appalling.
In reality, Mastani was never accepted by Bajirao’s family. Even Chimnaji, Bajirao’s beloved brother had refused to acknowledge Mastani as the second wife of Bajirao. When he found out that Chimnaji had arrested Mastani, Bajirao went into a shock. One could say that he almost committed suicide by jumping into a flooded Narmada on a bet at Raaver while in seclusion, owing to this shock. (He died of Pneumonia as a result of this bet).
So the question of Kashibai and Mastani living together as two wives of Bajirao never arises.
Now, Kashibai is known to have had a limp while walking. That she would dance, leave alone with Matsani, is implausible.
Thirdly, dance as an art form was limited to certain sections of the society. The way the song has been picturised — in a Lavani style & attire — was considered out of bounds for most women at the time. It’s certainly impossible that two royal women would perform such a dance.
It is being said that the song is a dream sequence. Even so, it is a gimmick at the cost of the family of Bajirao.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali might have made this film because he has freedom of expression. And while I agree that he will do what it takes to pull the masses in and set the box office ringing, to do this in the name of Peshwa Bajirao and to cause disrespect to the great warrior’s family, is disdainful, disappointing, irresponsible and totally unacceptable. This is in fact frustrating to those of us who admire and hold the unconquered warrior Bajirao in great regard. If this is what we have to put up with in the name of ‘tolerance’, one day we’ll be begging for respect at the traffic signal.
Another frustrating incident that comes to mind is Aakar Patel’s article titled ‘Historically Challenged’ that I came across in The Asian Age on the 15th of November 2015. While writing about Tipu Sultan, Mr Patel says, “When we read the works of our last great historian of the period, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, it becomes clear that unlike the Marathas, Tipu was a real warrior.” My question to Mr Patel here is, if Marathas were not real warriors what were they, cooks? This is just a sad attempt to make us lose our cool, and then label us intolerant. This is disgusting. Please remember that this country has a great legacy of mutual respect. Don’t fall too low to ignite fights.