Political hand behind 'Jodhaa Akbar' protests: Benegal

Feb 18, 2008


Hyderabad, Feb 18 (IANS) Eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal Monday alleged that there was a political hand behind the protests held against Ashutosh Gowariker's epic romance "Jodhaa Akbar" in several cities.

"This is the way politics is being played in this country," he said at a press conference here. However, he refused to elaborate on which political party could be responsible for the protests.

Benegal said there were only a handful of people protesting the film and blamed the media for hyping the issue.

"Forty channels are reporting that people representing Rajput organisations are staging protests against the film and preventing its screening. There may be 50 people staging the protest, but the moment the news comes on national channels, you think it is a national problem," he said.

On Monday, groups tried to disrupt the screening of the film in Gurgaon, Ahmedabad and Patna, saying that Gowariker had distorted historical facts.

Starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, the movie was released Friday but banned in Rajasthan. The Karni Sena there has been spearheading a campaign against the film for quite some time.

The community says Gowariker is presenting Jodha Bai as Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Akbar's wife, which is factually incorrect.

According to them, Jodha Bai was not the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber as shown in the film. The princess was the daughter of Motaraja Udai Singh of Marwar and she was married to Akbar's son Salim alias Jehangir. And Mughal king Shahjahan was her son.

Gowarikar, however, says he made the film after thorough research and consultations with historians.

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