Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Bajirao—Mastani: Fact or Fabrication?

'Cinematic depiction of mythological and historical characters always has an element of deliberate fabrication,' opined Sir DavidLean, the doyen of British classics. Cinema could be a reflection of real life but its prime objective is entertainment. Going by this yardstick and Lean's pithy observation, the unnecessary hullabaloo over Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao-Mastani holds no water. As the director of this movie, Bhansali is within his rights to take cinematic liberty and creative licence.
At the same time, we must also remember that there's no history but histories. The so-called historical facts are always questionable. What the descendants of Peshwas think and interpret is their lookout. Historians Waingnekar and Sardesai even wrote that Bajirao-Mastani love affair was completely concocted, though Mastani did exist but not as Bajirao's paramour, concubine or a lesser wife. Instead, she was in love with a dashing Maratha chieftain (refer to 'Indian History told by its own historians' by Eliot and Dawson). 



Even Sir Jadunath Sarkar doubted the veracity of this so-called love affair of Bajirao and Mastani just like that of Akbar-Jodha as the latter never existed. You don't come across the mention of Jodhabai in contemporary or court histories of Mughal era. The problem with all of us is that we tend to take petty things and facts very seriously. See this movie as a movie. Enjoy and forget it. Why reacting so earnestly as if life hinges on it?

               ----Sumitmaclean@hotmail.com

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