Surajmal Memorial Education Society, a well reputed representative organization of more than 9000 members spread across the country strongly condemns the undermining of the role of Maharaja Surajmal of Bharatpur in the recently released movie ‘Panipat : the Great Betrayal’. We are deeply anguished and hurt over the perfunctory manner in which the role of Maharaja Surajmal of Bharatpur has been portrayed.
In our democratic country artistic presentation of historical events is the prerogative of anyone intent upon doing so. Many film Producers/Directors in the film world have most successfully brought out celebrated historical movies. But whenever partisan presentation took place in respect of the veracity of events and the role played by celebrated figures, especially those venerated by whole communities controversies erupts.
We strongly believe, the movie under reference has not done justice to the role played by Maharaja Surajmal in the whole episode. The dialogues apportioned to the character of Surajmal are couched in a language and intonation that should not have much to do with what Surajmal was to be associated with.
It is well documented by several historians that Surajmal was a spendthrift. He did not squander his wealth. But when it came to buying peace with money he never played niggard. To depict him as greedy would be a travesty of truth. Maharaja Surajmal had won the trust of wealthy people in assigning their wealth to him in perilous times only to find it back in better times.
The popularity of cinema should not be misused by artists and directors. Films should not be used to make political statements and should never mislead the public about an event or historical incidents pertaining to specific character. By misuse, it simply means that when an event is depicted in the form of a motion picture or a web series, people are often unaware of the actual events and tend to believe the depiction blindly. Hence, it ruins the reputation of the particular community with distorted fact. There is a dire need of putting curb on depiction of historical incidents sans in-depth research for the sake of a cinematic experience.
One is left askance at the very title of the movie referred above. Unless a fully researched investigation is undertaken it is not possible to apportion blame on any single element for the so called betrayal. The society has requested Government of India vide Letter No. SMES/2019/188/772 addressed to Information and Broadcasting Minister, Government of India, Shri Prakash Javadekar to take steps to withhold the screening of the movie till appropriate corrective action is taken by the makers. This will assuage the hurt sensitivities of a wide section of the peasant community spread over the States of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi.