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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Bajirao Mastani, My Dilemma With History!


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Durga Chakraborty
Durga Chakrabortyhttp://oughtsknots.blogspot.in/
The belief lies within me. I am a dancer-turned-anchor-turned-filmmaker-turned-academician - all blended into one. I believe I have four people to thank for my existence. My biological parents (has to be two! obviously), my Guruji who taught me classical dance and last but not the least 'Cinema'. Coincidentally, since my belief is so strong and Universe runs on auto-suggestion, the journey so far has also been truly filmi. Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!!!

In a world around me which is primarily occupied with self gratification, I sometimes wonder how the historical ‘pic’ takes its significance.

Well, for one, I am not starting on a pessimistic note as my beginning may represent, but am curious to find the answer to my dilemma after I saw Bajirao Mastani. (The recent Ranveer-Deepika film)!


Being a filmmaker, I hate calling it a Ranveer-Deepika film in that common parlance since the films belong to the directors who make them. Mughal-e-Azam does belong to K Asif and than to Dilip Kumar, Akbar Jodha to Ashutosh Gowariker than Hrithik Roshan. So now you are also getting there…I mean understanding my dilemma and muddled thought.

Why I, a film maker and academician, am choosing to write about it is because good cinema usually takes you to a journey within on the intangibles of life and probably does not want you to spend time figuring out what is the economic – power balance to a film unit. But strangely, my tryst with most Indian films that deal with history leave me pondering on the set thought processes.

Bajirao Mastani love saga

The problem I feel is in these specific areas:

  1. Like true Indian thinkers, we tend to extrapolate on the love element within the story. Is it because we are compelled to take the audience through a romantic Disney ride all the time?

  2. We take too much creative licence. I wonder what a class 6 student thinks of Bajirao in his school text now….a warrior or ideal lover or crazy high adrenaline actor? My kids turned blank after the screening, dilemma multiplied!!

I may sound Utopian, but I still think cinema needs to have a clear message and needs to move on from showing only the grandeur of history to the cause and effect of those times.

By the way, my dilemma doesn’t end here. I also have some very stupid thoughts when I see a historical. For example, if a king wanted to pee in the middle of a war, where would he go? Or how did women in those days manage menstruation? Or how did the queens manage their weight and did they ever have wardrobe malfunctions?

Well, let me wait for the next historical to see if I can find something new. Till then, let me allow the shot of Mastani kissing Bajirao stay in my head – good enough to tell me she was emancipated!

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