New Delhi: The Ministry of Education needs to take cognizance of the contribution of Hindu kings and balance their stories with those of Mughal emperors who are given more space in school textbooks, Bollywood star Akshay Kumar said on Wednesday.
Ahead of the release of his film Samrat Prithviraj, a historical action drama based on the Rajput warrior king, Kumar said he was sad that we don’t know about our own kings.
“There were only three or four lines about Samrat Prithviraj in the history books I read. Through this movie I learned a lot about him. I don’t think anyone else also know him, Kumar told PTI in an interview.
“When I was talking about him (Prithviraj) to my son, he said ‘I know the British Empire, the Mughal Empire, but who is he?’ So it’s a sad thing that we don’t know about our own kings. There were only a few lines about Rana Pratap, Rani of Jhansi. But there are a lot of chapters about Mughals,” he said. -he adds.
Kumar described his film, which was previously titled “Prithviraj” and was retitled last week following protests from Shree Rajput Karni Sena, as an “educational film set in a commercial manner”.
“I would like to appeal to the Ministry of Education to try (to bring) a balance and bring our culture, Hindu kings also in our textbooks,” Kumar said.
Kumar was in Delhi to promote his film and paid floral tributes at Qila Rai Pithoragarh, a complex in South Delhi housing a statue of Prithviraj Chauhan.
“Samrat Prithviraj,” produced by Yash Raj Films which released a statement on the name change, is directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi.
Kumar said he was surprised when Dwivedi, known for directing the TV show “Chanakya” in 1991 and the score film “Pinjar” in 2003, approached him for the project.
“I wasn’t sure if I could make it or not. The way Samrat Prithviraj has been portrayed in the history books, he’s a little big. I do not match (the image). But he was convinced that according to him, his imagination, he (Prithviraj) was an athletic person. I said let’s go,” the 54-year-old actor said.
He also weighed in on the “north versus south” cinema debate, saying he would rather talk about uniting the film industries across the country than comment on a non-issue.
“The two sectors are one. The British ruled us for 200 years using Divide and Rule, we are dividing (our country) again by doing all these things. We are India. They make films in their mother tongue, we make films in our mother tongue.
“We should talk about uniting. Let’s say Allu Arjun and I are making a movie together or Shah Rukh and Vijay are working on a movie. We wish for such things. Not things like, ‘They’re eating away at your (movie) business,’” he explained.
Responding to the recent controversy over India’s national language, Kumar said: All languages are national languages.
“I am happy to speak my mother tongue (Punjabi), I think my mother tongue is the best. A Tamil person thinks his (language) is the best. I don’t understand what the debate is about. We all belong to one culture, one country.
“All of a sudden there was a roar (furore) about it all and I didn’t understand what was wrong with us? After reading so many stories, we always fight about ‘my language is ok’, ‘this language is bad’. I just believe that being together is enough,” said Kumar, who is currently filming for the Hindi remake of the 2020 Tamil film “Soorarai Pottru”.
India has no national language. The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution recognizes 22 languages.
Kumar, who completed three decades in film last year, racking up a string of hits including Sooryavanshi and Bell Bottom, said he hoped to keep working.
“I just want to keep working until they have to take me down. I only know how to do this job. Lots of business opportunities are coming up but I don’t pay much attention to them. I made investments in some companies. That’s all I know.
“But I can’t run a business. There is no point in embarking on something you have no knowledge of. In the next 30 years, I see myself working in this industry. I can’t go anywhere else,” he added.
As a child, the actor said he was more interested in stories than studying.
“My parents told me a lot of stories. Growing up, I watched movies and read comics about ‘Tarzan’. So my hero was ‘Tarzan’. I loved comics such as “Amar Chitra Katha”, “Mandrake the Magician”, “Bahadur”, “Phantom”, etc. »
Samrat Prithviraj also stars Sanjay Dutt, Sonu Sood and marks the screen debut of Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar. The film is due out on Friday.