Known for his penchant for historical dramas, and widely acknowledged and loved for his eye for detail in his body of work, filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker was felicitated in Pune by the Hindavi Swarajya Mahasangh. The filmmaker, and Rohit Shelatkar, the producer of Panipat, were honoured for displaying the highest level of craftsmanship in the historical drama, which released on December 6, 2019.
Ashutosh and Rohit were invited by the Pradhan Mandal of the aforementioned organisation as year 2020 marks the 260th anniversary of the Third Battle of Panipat, which formed the basis of Ashutosh’s recent film. On January 12, a ‘maanvandana’ program was organised in Pune to mark the occasion and to felicitate the filmmaker and his producer partner for their recent work which received critical and commercial acclaim in all pockets. The Military Band of the Southern Command of the Indian Army paid homage to the heroes who laid down their lives and fought bravely in the Third Battle of Panipat. The Bhosale, Peshwa and other Maratha Sardar families honoured Ashutosh and Rohit for tactfully and dramatically underlining a key event in Maratha history and saluting the valor, glory and bravery of the Marathas through his film, Panipat.
While Ashutosh accepted the accolade dressed in traditional Maratha style with a kesari pheta adorning his head, HH Shivajiraje Bhosale, the President of the Hindavi Swarajya Mahasangh and the descendent of the Chhatrapati Bhosale family of Thanjavur, presided over the event. Also in attendance were families from the Chhatrapati clans of Satara and Kolhapur, and the current generation of members from the Maratha Sardar families. They, together, applauded Gowariker’s excellence in direction, writing and production, which was at its best in Panipat.
Emotionally-welled up with the honour, Ashutosh Gowariker said, “I’m extremely overwhelmed with the honour that the Hindavi Swarajya Mahasangh has bestowed upon me. This gives me a sense of validation that I probably have done what I had set out to do. I could bring the spotlight onto an extremely important aspect of Maratha and Indian history. I could highlight the contributions made by Maratha soldiers and the leaders from the royal family. It fills me with gratitude that the work the entire team and I did over a period of two years reached fruition. The families of the Maratha descendants found my film and my work worth appreciating. I could not have asked for a better start to the new decade and to the new year. It strengthens my belief that as Indians, we have a lot in our history to feel proud of.”
Panipat, the historical drama, was released close on the heels of the 260th anniversary of the third battle of Panipat, doing a ‘manacha mujra’ to the bravery of the Maratha warriors, true sons of the soil who fought even with the last drop of their blood to protect their land from invaders. Gowariker and Shelatkar’s ambitious Panipat, starring Sanjay Dutt, Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon, was widely applauded by the critics for the filmmaker’s trademark sense of story-telling, meticulous detailing, grand scale, apt casting in key roles and its dramatic and emotional content, as well as well-executed action scenes. With this film, Ashutosh proved that no one in Bollywood excels in ‘repeating and retelling history’ like him.