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Theatres in Jaipur stop Panipat screenings following state advisory

Rajasthan has seen some protests against Ashutosh Gowariker's historical drama owing to the supposedly negative portrayal of Jat king Surajmal.

Our Correspondent

Several movie theatres in Jaipur have stopped screenings of Ashutosh Gowariker's historical drama, Panipat, after protests over the portrayal of mediæval Jat king Surajmal in the film.

Panipat tells the story of the Third Battle of Panipat that took place in 1761 between the armies of the Maratha confederacy and Afghan king Ahmad Shah Abdali, and was opposed by some of the erstwhile royal families of Rajasthan over the portrayal of Surajmal. 

The website NDTV.com reported that several theatre managements had stopped screening the film following a state advisory warning of protests. The report said screenings would be resumed only on further orders. 

The protests began after a Rajasthan minister, Vishwendra Singh, a descendant of Surajmal, expressed displeasure with the portrayal of his ancestor in Gowariker's film. 

Vishwendra Singh said, "It is very sad that a great man like Maharaja Surajmal Jat of Bharatpur has been depicted in the film Panipat in a very wrong way while tampering with historical facts. I believe the film should be banned in view of the huge opposition in the Jat community of Haryana, Rajasthan and North India. Otherwise the law and order of the country may deteriorate." 

In response, Rajasthan's chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, "We respect art and culture, but no one's sentiments should be hurt. This is why we talked to film distributors and said a solution to this has to be found. It would be better if the film is screened after people are convinced." The chief minister admitted that he himself was yet to see the film.

Panipat features Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, and Sanjay Dutt in the leading roles, and was released on 6 December.