What is the reality of Peshwa Bajirao?


By Harshmeet Singh

Movies have the power to enforce a perception upon the society. After all, most of the affection for the ‘Superhuman’ Sallu bhai aka Salman Khan is based on the superhero roles he plays on the screen. Alternatively, cinema also has the power to bring forgotten heroes back into the minds of people, as in the case of Bhagat Singh, Milkha Singh and more recently, Peshwa Bajirao.

Considering the widespread reach of cinema in the country, it is imperative that movies based on historical subjects stay true to the facts so that the audience isn’t disillusioned. In this context, the latest Bollywood flick Bajirao Mastani is an interesting case study. Though the movie carries with it disclaimers that certain historical facts have been altered in order to enhance the storytelling, a number of historians believe that the movie’s presentation of Peshwa Bajirao is far from facts.

As soon as the movie hit the screens, historians and other critics took up their pens to sketch the real character of Bajirao which is, for some, far different from Bhansali’s imagination. NewsGram brings you some of the choicest write-ups that try to turn back the pages of history and present the reality of the famed Maratha warrior.

  • On the other hand, in “Why Bajirao is India’s greatest cavalry general”, Colonel Anil A Athale (retd) contests that the Peshwa was the greatest warrior India has ever seen. He says that Bajirao was an unorthodox leader, and hence faced opposition from a number of people.
  • In the article named “The Wonderland of Bajirao and Akhand Bharat”, the writer wittingly compares Peshwa Bajirao’s idea (as shown in movie) of Akhand Bharat with a recent interview given by BJP’s Ram Madhav to Al Jazeera where he said that Akhand Bharat is a possibility.
  • In a blog published in Times of India, Bajirao Mastani a hit-job on the great Maratha, the writer tears into Sanjay Leela Bhansali for distorting multiple facts in the movie and showcasing Bajirao as merely a passionate lover, rather than highlighting his military skills.

The jury is still out on Bhansali’s presentation of the warrior and his averseness towards facts. These insightful write-ups may help you in making up your opinion.