Published On : Sat, Dec 19th, 2015

‘Jai Maharashtra’ say Bajirao Mastani audience in Nagpur – Bhai ki film hai, say Dilwale fans


Sad, but it is happening in ‘apna Nagpur’ too. Yesterday when two mega Bollywood productions hit screens all over India simultaneously, stiff competition was expected. With loads of money invested, there is a great deal at stake in ensuring the movie is declared a ‘hit’ on its opening day itself – but no one would have expected that chauvinistic, religious and regional feelings would determine the choice of movie to see. Not in Nagpur at least – but that unfortunately, seems to be happening.

Yesterday, Nagpur Today reporters visited Smruti and Libery to get reactions of fans to these two movies.

Bajirao Mastani released in Smruti while Dilwale had to be content with the smaller and older theater Liberty. (Distributors of Dilwale seem to be have concentrated more on capturing multiplex space).

Swati reports that there were huge crowds outside Smruti theatre when the first show got over and people were milling to go in for afternoon show.

“This is a story about a great warrior of Maharashtra – of course we will prefer watching this over a fictional love story” opined many patrons she spoke to.

Some girls wanted to watch it for the immortal romance of Mastani and Bajirao. A romance that actually has more in built scope for drama than the story of Salim – Anarkali which has been immortalized in Mughal e Azam. Bajirao -Mastani saga is more contemporary, more real and was inter-religion. (Mastani was half Muslim).

But this aspect of a Muslim – Hindu romance seems to be lost on the audience that was queuing up to watch Dilwale in Liberty.

“Apne Bhai ki film hai, dekhni to padegi!” many youth of the city commented. Not many fans commented on the popular pairing of Kajol – SRK but showed solidarity for Shahrukh.

A logical reaction to Hindu right wingers exhorting people to boycott the film after SRK’s intolerance remarks?

Making Dilwale a hit seems to have become a proxy Hindu – Muslim ‘war’. And BM is offering a choice of a counterfoil ‘Hindu – Marathi’ film.

A very sad happening, like we said before. Art and cinema should unite, not divide.

The intrinsic message of any love story is that Love conquers All – even divinity; and both films claim to be ‘love stories’.

Yeh kaisa ishq hai? Borrowing from a quote from Bajirao Mastani that has already gone viral –
Wo Ishq ; Jo Mehboob Ko Dekhe Toh Khuda Ko Bhul Jaye! Ishq, Jo Toofani Dariya Se Bagawat Kar Jaye, Wo Ishq ; Bhare Darbaar Me Jo Duniya Se Lad Jaye!

If these love stories on the other hand are reminding people of their religion, “yeh toh ishq ki toheen ho gayi!” (It is an insult to love).

No matter what their B.O collections – in my eyes, they have failed.

….. Swati Gan and Mihir Thakkar