Kabir Khan is a well-known Filmmaker in Bollywood. He has helmed films like 83, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Ek Tha Tiger, Kabul Express, New York to name a few. Now the filmmaker feels demonising Mughals is “problematic and disturbing”. Read on to know why.
The filmmaker’s comments come hard on heels as the release of Disney+ Hotstar’s The Empire is around the corner. The television series is based on Alex Rutherford’s book The Moghuls. It focuses on the story of Mughal emperor Babur.
Talking to Bollywood Hungama, Kabir Khan said that the movies that depict demonizing Mughals are made to “just go with the popular narrative” and aren’t based on “historical evidence”. Not just that he also claimed Mughals were the “original nation-builders”.
The filmmaker said, “I find it hugely problematic and disturbing because what really makes me upset is that it’s being done just to go with the popular narrative. I can understand when a filmmaker has researched something and a filmmaker wants to make a point… Of course, there can be different viewpoints. If you want to demonise the Mughals, please base it on some research and make us understand why; why they were the villains that you think they were. Because if you do some research and read history, it’s very tough to understand why they have to be villainized. I think they were the original nation-builders, and to write them off and say they murdered people… But what are you basing it on? Please point out the historical evidence. Please have an open debate, just don’t go with the narrative that you think will be popular.”
Kabir Khan also said, “It’s the easiest thing today, demonising the Mughals and various other Muslim rulers that India had at different points in its history. Trying to fit them into preconceived stereotypes, it is distressing. I cannot respect those films, unfortunately. That’s my personal opinion, of course, I can’t speak for larger audiences, but I definitely get upset by those kinds of portrayals.”
It is also worth pointing out that the historical accuracy of several period films has been cast in doubt in recent years. Saif Ali Khan, who played the role of Udhayban Singh Rathore in Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior too spoke about it during a conversation with Film Companion. He said, “For some reason, I didn’t take a stand… maybe next time I would. I was very excited to play the role because it’s a delicious role. But when people say this is history; I don’t think this is history. I am quite aware of what the history was.”