Pinga song: Bajirao's descendent lashes out at Bhansali

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus ‘Bajirao Mastani’ has been in the news due to its lead cast and the grandeur. But just a month ahead of the film hits the screens, ‘Bajirao Mastani’ has kicked up a controversy over its recently released song titled ‘Pinga’.

‘Pinga’ features Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone, who play the role of Peshwa Baji Rao’s first wife Kashibai and second wife Mastani respectively.  The song received mixed reactions when it released.

While some praised the song and the performance of Priyanka and Deepika, several others including dance exponents, vocalist and historians have criticised it on grounds ranging from distortion of history to an uncouth mix of completely divergent dance forms.

Now a descendent of the Peshwas, Mohini Karkarey has voiced her displeasure about the song. In an open letter to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, she has slammed him for distorting facts and basing the film on ill-research. Mohini said that Kashibai could not have danced as she was suffering from arthritis. Moreover, it was not in their culture.

She also claimed that the costumes worn by Deepika and Priyanka were never worn by royal families and the draping of the saree was also improper. The letter also claimed that Mastani was not a courtesan but the daughter of Raja Chatrasaal of Bundelkhand.

Following is the full text of Mohini’s letter:

Mr Bhansali,

The time has now come to speak out, to speak out against the picturisation in the song and certain scenes from your movie, Bajirao Mastani. The latest song Pinga and the dance sequence which you have promoted have a lot of undesirable elements.

This is not fiction, Mr Bhansali. You have portrayed real people who have been recorded in history. The Peshwas ruled for more than 100 years. Did you do any research at all? Did you, for instance, understand the life and times of people in the 1700s? Do you know and understand their behavioural pattern?

Here are a few recorded facts for your perusal:

Fact 1: Kashibai Saheb was suffering from tuberculosis and had arthritis. Due to this she had a limp.

Fact 2: Kashibai would never get into a dance routine even if she was healthy because that was not in the culture.

Fact 3: The costumes shown in the song Pinga were never worn by royal families or even normal women. The way the nauvari was draped did not show even an ounce of skin.

Fact 4: Kashibai and Mastani met only once in their lifetime and that too formally.

Fact 5:  Kashibai was the daughter of Mahadji Krishna Joshi from Chaas and was known as Chaskar Joshi. Her descendants are still alive.

Fact 6: Mastani was not a courtesan or dancer. She was the daughter of Raja Chatrasaal of Bundelkhand. She was married to Bajirao and was his second wife. Mastani's descendants, the Nawabs of Banda, will give you enough proof of this.

Proof of all the facts is available on Peshwe Gharanyacha Itihas by Mr Pramod Oak and you will find plenty more proof here in Peshwe Daptar.

Bajirao was a great warrior second only to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. With this so called love story you have made a mockery of him. You have insulted the very essence of Maharashtrian families. This will definitely create a flawed image about such a great personality and his family.

Yours sincerely,

Mohini Karkarey