Pinga: All that song and dance

 happened to watch the Pinga song on a news channel and was taken aback. I instantly switched off my TV set. We are contemplating legal action against Sanjay Leela Bhansali production. We will also return all the mementos they gave us on Bajirao’s birth anniversary in August,” says V V alias Udaysinh Peshwa, a descendant of Bajirao Peshwa on whose life Bhansali’s film Bajirao Mastani is based. 

The Peshwas are upset because the much-talked-about song shows Bajirao’s two wives  Kashibai and Mastani, dancing together in a very ‘inappropriate manner’. “Kashibai had a limp, she couldn’t possibly have danced. More than that, women from good families never came out so often in those days, let alone dance,” Peshwa says.

His wife Jaymangaladevi informs that they were neither told about the movie being made nor consulted during the scripting. “For Bajirao’s birth anniversary on August 18, we were invited to the sets in Mumbai but since we celebrate it here, we told them it was not possible. So the celebration was kept on August 17 there. I, along with my daughter, son, nephew, went there. We were shown around the sets and interacted with Bhansali. I told him that all we wanted was that the Peshwa name is not tarnished in any way. And now, this song is showing a lady from our family dancing. Did they even know that women in those days wore a shela (stole), over the pallu of their nauwari saree?,” she wonders.

Pune historian Mandar Lawate seconds her thoughts. “So far, we have only seen the song but the representation of women in it does not seem right. Women from ‘wealthy’ families would never dance in the 18th century. In fact, they never came out in public which is why one doesn’t find their paintings anywhere. If this is a historical movie, the producers should just tell us what they have based it on,” Lawate says. 

Pandurang Balkawde, another city historian says that one can’t comment on the entire movie based on just one song but says there are many things that are not going with the records found on the Peshwa family. “We have to watch the movie to comment on it but as far as the song is concerned, it is true that more than 250 years ago, no lady would dance. The social system prevalent then was very different from what it is now.”  

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