Panipat Movie controversy: Can Ahmad Shah Abdali’s portrayal impact Indo-Afghan ties?

Panipat Movie controversy: The Panipat trailer depicts Afghan king Ahmad Shah Abdali as a ruthless and brutal ruler.

Created On: Nov 8, 2019 12:15 IST
Panipat trailer to impact India-Afghan ties?
Panipat trailer to impact India-Afghan ties?

Panipat Movie controversy: Panipat trailer has created a controversy in Afghanistan over Sanjay Dutt’s portrayal of Ahmad Shah Abdali in the movie. Former Afghan ambassador to India tweeted to Sanjay Dutt saying that “hope Panipat kept Indo-Afghan ties in mind!”

Dr Shaida Abdali, former Afghan ambassador tweeted expressing concern over the trailer. Panipat is based on the third battle of Panipat, which took place between the Maratha Empire and Afghan King Ahmad Shah Abdali. The third battle of Panipat is considered to be one of the largest battles ever fought in Indian history.

The Panipat trailer depicts Afghan king Ahmad Shah Abdali as a ruthless and brutal ruler. The film, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, stars Arjun Kapoor as Sadashiv Rao Bhau, Sanjay Dutt as the Afghan emperor Ahmad Shah Abdali and Kriti Sanon as Parvati Bai.

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Dr Shaida Abdali’s tweet:

Panipat: Why Afghanistan objects to Ahmad Shah Abdali’s portrayal in the film?

The Panipat trailer, which was released on November 5, has stirred fears of impacting Indo-Afghan ties after its brutal depiction of Afghan king Ahmad Shah Abdali, who is considered as the founder of modern Afghanistan and is also regarded widely as ‘the father of the nation’.

The first Panipat trailer gives a glimpse of the famous battle and leaves the viewers hanging by bringing Arjun Kapoor’s character Sadashiv Rao Bhau face-to-face with Sanjay Dutt’s character Ahmad Shah towards the end.

Ahmad Shah Abdali has been portrayed as a ruthless ruler, who leaves a trail of bodies in his thirst for more power. In fact, actor Sanjay Dutt had introduced his character on twitter by saying Ahmad Shah Abdali - Death strikes where his shadow falls.”

According to media reports, the Afghan embassy in India has expressed its concerns over the insensitive portrayal of Ahmad Shah Abdali to India’s External Affairs Ministry and has also sought a meeting with the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar over the issue.  The officials fear that it may impact India-Afghan ties.

Third Battle of Panipat: Everything you need to know

The Third Battle of Panipat, known as one of the most significant battles ever fought in the Indian history, took place on January 14, 1761 at Panipat.

The battle was fought between the Maratha Empire and invading Afghan King Ahmad Shah Abdali. The war is reported to have lasted for several days, resulting in a large number of fatalities.

Ahmad Shah Abdali’s forces emerged victorious at the end of the battle. According to historical accounts, around 40,000 Maratha prisoners were slaughtered in cold blood after the battle.

The battle halted the Maratha empire’s attempt to expand into the north and destabilised their territories.

India-Afghan Ties

India and Afghanistan have traditionally shared strong and friendly relations. India had offered intelligence and other support to the US-led coalition that ousted the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

Ever since India established diplomatic relations with the new democratic Afghan government and has provided all required support to restore normalcy and peace in the region.

India is currently aiding several construction projects in Afghanistan, as a part of its efforts to support the rebuilding of the nation.

India and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2011, which further boosted the relations between the two nations.


This is not the first time that a portrayal of a historical character has come under the scanner. Before this, Ranveer Singh’s portrayal of Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat had also created a furor, with many historians criticizing the exaggerated portrayal of the character’s brutality and eccentricity.

Also read: Kalapani Territorial Dispute: Origin, history, significance, territory map, Nepal's objection

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