Yash Raj Films, the makers of Akshay Kumar’s upcoming film Prithviraj, have changed the movie’s title to Samrat Prithviraj after facing criticism from the organisation Shree Rajput Karni Sena. The film is set to release next week, on June 3.
YRF made the announcement about the title change in a public letter addressed to Karni Sena President Mahipalsingh Makrana, on Friday. “We sincerely appreciate your effort in alerting us about your grievance in relation to the current title of the film, and assure you that we did not, and do not, intend to hurt the sentiments of any person(s) or disrespect the late king and warrior, Prithviraj Chauhan. In fact, we wish to celebrate his bravery, achievements, and contribution to our nation’s history, through this film,” the letter said.
It further added, “As per the multiple rounds of discussions between us, and to peacefully and amicably resolve the raised grievance, we will change the title to Samrat Prithviraj. We are highly appreciative of the mutual agreement reached between us that you have no further objections with regards to our film and that all other points raised by you earlier are no longer a point of contention between us. We thank Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena and its members for understanding our good intentions pertaining to the depiction of the great warrior in the film.”
Directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, Samrat Prithviraj also stars Manushi Chillar, Sanjay Dutt, Sonu Sood, Sakshi Tanwar, Manav Vij, and Lalit Tiwari.
In 2021, the film had started receiving flak from Karni Sena, which demanded that the makers of Prithviraj change the title of the film. The contention was that the title without any honorific for the emperor was disrespectful. Later, protests broke out in Chandigarh for the same reason.
Surjeet Singh Rathore, the then president of the youth wing of the Sena, had warned that the film’s makers would face the same consequences as the makers of Padmaavat, the 2018 film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The outfit had physically assaulted Bhansali in 2016 and attacked the sets of Padmaavat while the film was being shot in Rajasthan. The film was then titled Padmavati. Claiming that the film planned to show romantic scenes featuring Rani Padmini and Alauddin Khilji (played by Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, respectively), Karni Sena staged protests in several parts of the country. Bhansali, however, denied the presence of such scenes in the film. After facing death threats, Bhansali eventually agreed to change the film’s title.