DUBAI: An upcoming Bollywood movie Panipat is causing concerns and stirring anger among Afghans across the world fearing a misrepresentation of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the founder of modern Afghanistan and regarded as father of the nation.
Panipat is based on the Third Battle between the Maratha Empire of India and the Durrani Empire of Afghanistan in 1761 — one of the most significant events in history of South Asia.
Recently Indian films like Padmaavat and Kesari have stereotypically vilified Afghans in as brutal and cold-blooded killers.
Therefore, increasing concerns among Afghans that Panipat might end up insulting Abdali and his legacy, causing damage to the strong India – Afghanistan relations.
Fearing damage from the release of the film, due on 6th December, the Afghanistan Embassy in New Delhi wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs within hours of the trailer release.
“Since the film is related to former Afghan emperor Ahmad Shah Abdali, any insensitive/distorted depiction of his character might provoke emotions of Afghans which could be unfairly exploited by others to adversely affect the trust and harmony that exists so well among the people of two countries,” the letter stated.
Afghan actor Babrak Akbari who has played alongside the lead actor Sanjay Dutt said in a video message: “I’m along with Sanjay Dutt in the movie. I also came to know of concerns through WhatsApp, Facebook and Messenger that the movie would show a bad image of Ahmad Shah Baba. But there is nothing like that in the film.”
He insisted the movie was based on real history. “If it contained anything against Afghanistan, I would have never worked in it.” Akbari added.