Maharana Pratap’s Open Letter to Bollywood


Maharana Pratap’s Open Letter to Bollywood

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar

Greetings former subjects and perpetual fanboys,

I’m taking time out of my busy schedule of haunting eleventh graders to speak to you about a matter of urgency. It has come to our royal attention that biopics are the flavour of the season. There is one on Rani Laxmibai, Manikarnika, I hear, and one on the PM. This after renowned director Sanjay Leela Bhansali made a blockbuster out of Queen Padmavati’s life. It has been more than a year but I feel utterly ashamed to admit that my extremely distant descendants stormed an entire castle only to beat up one guy, for making a movie. We were a warrior people, not bullies on a playground.

Now, I have also heard that a certain Mr Kalicharan Saraf wanted to rewrite the ending of the Battle of Haldighati to say that our forces, led by the valiant Man Singh, trounced Akbar’s forces on the field. I would formally like to, as you say these days, put my foot down and refute that claim. We do not need a false victory to retain our sense of pride, for we were massively outnumbered, yet every man, boy, and elephant fought their hardest. My dearest Chetak most of all. It takes away from the years I spent eluding captors in the hills of Chittor, the cat-and-mouse game of avoiding being caught by the enemy, and the nights spent in caves wistfully trying to replace my royal mattress with igneous rocks. I kept fighting a battle we had lost for twenty years, even when I was in the bowels of the forests of Rajasthan. Humbly speaking, I think that was epic.

Epic reminds me. To all the producers reading this, I have a question to ask. Where is my bloody movie? Yes I’ve had a television show and a few cringe-worthy patriotic movies to my name, but I think that my life is dramatically apt for a biopic’s screenplay. I mean you made a biopic on a guy who was convicted in a serial blasts case! And there is going to be one of Rahul Gandhi. What exactly has he done? I fought the freaking Mughals, conquered so much land, married eleven gorgeous women. Yet look at the ones who get biopics.

I’d prefer if Anurag Kashyap made a gritty reboot of the battle of Haldighati, Game of Thrones style.

I give you my written permission to fictionalise aspects to my life to make it more entertaining for the audience because I understand how the biz works. I assure you, I will not be offended from beyond the grave if you happen to fabricate a few pieces of this narrative and make it racy. It might be difficult for your saffron-turbaned heads to process this piece of news, but we were not sexually prudish or embroiled in such a superficial view of morality. Just don’t tell people that I won a battle when I didn’t. That’s not very Rajput of you.

So Mr Ashutosh Gowarikar, if you’d like to redeem yourself from the steaming wreckage of Mohenjo Daro, here’s your chance. Or Shri Karan Johar ji, if you want to make a romantic drama starring twelve highly attractive people, there’s enough room for that too. I’d prefer if Anurag Kashyap made a gritty reboot of the Battle of Haldighati, Game of Thrones style, with Nawazuddin as Man Singh and Abhay Deol playing us. I am open to all kinds of adjustment but this really has to happen.

And IF for some reason it can’t, because of our cult of needlessly nitpicky and easily offended Rajputs, then please do me a tiny favour instead. Do not let them change the best part of my story in the history books of this country. Children need to learn that there is no shame in losses as long as you lose with your head held high. If  Virat Kohli’s RCB can do it, so can we. It’s not even such an ego issue anymore to be honest, it was just a rage against the machine sort of a situation. If we lost, we lost. We do not whine or try to alter facts, for I refuse to go down as the Taylor Swift of Indian history. Such is the Rajputana way.

Peace out.