Good to be compared with 'Bajirao Mastani': Gowariker on 'Panipat'

Mumbai, Nov 23 (PTI) Director Ashutosh Gowariker on Saturday said he doesn't mind parallels being drawn between his upcoming directorial 'Panipat' and 'Bajirao Mastani' as Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum opus was a well-made film.

'Panipat' chronicles the third Battle of Panipat in 1761 fought between the Marathas, under the leadership of Sadashivrao Bhau, and invading Afghan army, led by Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Arjun Kapoor stars as Sadashivrao and Sanjay Dutt plays Ahmad Shah in the film, scheduled to be released on December 6.

The period drama is also being compared to Bhansali's latest 'Padmaavat' over similarities between the looks of Sanjay's Ahmad Shah and Ranveer Singh's Alauddin Khilji.

'Comparisons will always be there. When I made 'Jodhaa Akbar', my direct comparison was with 'Mughal-E-Azam'. There was no connection, but it was probably because the film was set in the Mughal period and had Akbar in it. When 'Bajirao Mastani' had come, it was compared to 'Jodhaa Akbar'... When 'Padmaavat' trailer came, it was compared to 'Baahubali'.

'As an audience, we tend to compare it with the previous hit film. It is good. In our film, Sadashivrao Bhau is the next generation of Bajirao. It is the story 20 years later. So maybe the house, 'Shanichar Vada', the clothes may remain and look same. If comparison is there, it is good as ‘Bajirao Mastani’ was a good film,' Gowariker told reporters.

The filmmaker was speaking at the song launch of 'Panipat'.

He said it took him about one-and-a-half year to write the script. Pune-based historian Pandurang Balkawade was also a part of the film's writers room.

Gowarikar said he was toying with the idea of making a film on the important historical event for a while.

'Though we had lost the Battle of Panipat, we don’t know why we lost, what happened. This is the only battle in the world in which an army walked a thousand kilometres to stop an attack. I was amazed how Marathas came from Pune and reached Panipat. It is a story of their courage, so I had to share it with everyone.' The director, whose period dramas have often run into controversies, including his last 'Mohenjo Daro', said it is natural that questions are raised whenever history is depicted on celluloid.

'When you depict history cinematically questions always arise about how much has been included in the film and how much has been excluded. When you have a history book, you have so much information to put in. That is why it is called an account.

'But when you bring history to screen, you have to deduct and keep a path ready about where you story will start and end.' Some people were uncertain about whether their family members have been shown in the film, the director said, adding the doubts were cleared.

'We have Malhar Rao Holkar, Shamsher Bahadur, Dattaji Shinde, Nana Fadnavis, and others as a part of the film,' he said.

'When they had come from Pune, there were 40,000 soldiers. By the time they reached Panipat, there were 50,000 soldiers. There were Hindus and Muslims. It was a cooperative kind of army, I felt it was important to bring that to the screen,' he added.

On a lighter note, Gowarikar, best known for lavishly mounted period films, said he often makes a promise to himself about directing a smaller film but always goes back to history.

'When I am done shooting for a film I always make a promise to myself that next one will be a smaller movie. It will have two characters, one house in Switzerland and it will be the story of one night. That way, there will be not many costumes. But this promise is broken every time. If I get attracted to a theme, which is universal and has a good story behind it, I just go ahead,' he said.

The film also stars Kriti Sanon, Mohnish Bahl, Padmini Kolhapure, among others. PTI KKP RDS SHD RDS RDS