Actor Arjun Rampal will realise his long-cherished dream of acting in a period drama when he starts work on the upcoming historical, The Battle Of Bhima Koregaon. The film casts Arjun as a Mahar warrior while Sunny Leone plays a spy who masquerades as a dancer. The makers plan to release the film in the second half of 2021.
Arjun plays Sidhnak Mahar Inamdar, a leader of Mahar Regiment. “Generally, when I do a certain film, I ask myself why I am doing this film but when I heard story of this film, I thought I should definitely be a part of this project and I shouldn’t stop myself from doing it,” he said.
He added: “I didn’t know about this particular incident, so I am thankful to (director) Ramesh (Thete) for offering me this film. I didn’t know who Sidhnak (Mahar) was and what the battle of Bhima Koregaon was about. I think what happened at that time is going to shock everybody after watching the film. It is something everybody should know. If we say the Holocaust happened with Jews in World War II, I don’t think that was anything less. I felt this film and the character of Sidhnak carry a lot of responsibility because he (Sidhnak Mahar) is the hero of one sect and he has been inspiring them from 1818 and continue to do so in 2020. It has always been my dream to do a great period film and I think The Battle Of Bhima Koregaon is that film for me.”
The film, also featuring Krushna Abhishek and Digangana Suryavanshi, is based on the battle fought between the East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha confederacy on January 1, 1818 at Bhima Koregaon. The British forces, mostly comprising Mahar soldiers, beat back a much larger army.
The Mahars, considered untouchables, celebrate the battle day as a symbol of their victory over upper-caste oppression. Every year on January 1, a large number of Dalits visit Bhima Koregaon to commemorate the victory.
On the second centenary of the battle in 2018, there was tension between the Dalits and others, resulting in violence. Since then, the battle of Bhima Koregaon has been embroiled in controversy.
Talking about controversy, director Thete said: “There have been several controversies related to this subject but I can assure that after the release of this film, misconceptions about this issue will be cleared. In this film, we have tried to show that everyone in the society should be treated equally. We haven’t decided the release date of the film but I am sure that we will release it in the second half of 2021.”