Akshay Kumar says Kashi related to ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, film’s director speaks on cultural nationalism

Akshay Kumar

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the release of the historical drama ‘Samrat Prithiviraj’ starring actor Akshay Kumar, the film’s makers visited Somnath temple in Gujarat and Varanasi- both pilgrimage sites for Hindus.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, the superstar who essays the titular role of Prithviraj Chauhan, said he had visited Varanasi also known as Kashi – the temple city, not for religious reasons but for its culture and to make people aware of the city’s association with the 12th-century valiant king.
“Kashi is related to Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan. I had gone for the culture thing. I had gone to tell people that this is our culture and why it is essential… I had gone there to pay my respect,” Akshay said. He and other team members of the film visited Varanasi on May 30.

The film’s director Dr Chandrapraksh Dwivedi, talked about “Hindu nationalism” in the context of the film.

The director said he “would call it cultural nationalism and there is nothing wrong in the revival of Hindu nationalism or cultural nationalism because the character of this nation is Hindu, and when I say Hindu it means culture.”

He further talked about why the film’s team visited Varanasi and Somnath and said that Varanasi is the “cultural capital or the spiritual capital of India.”

Dwivedi added that “because there is so much debate going on in the country, I thought that I should remind people that the first time the temple at Kashi Vishwanath was destroyed, it was by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Who was Qutb-ud-din Aibak? He was a slave of Muhammad Ghori, who is there in our film. So that was also a relation (for us to visit.)”

He also stated that since 1192, the country has been under “the rule of invaders” and said, “There was a lot of torture, so many religious conversions, this society went through a lot. Today, in this free country, we have an opportunity to bring back our culture. And Somnath temple became an example of that in 1948, as it was reopened.”

“So I ask this many times that is rebuilding and renovating our own temples wrong? It’s not just a temple, it is the centre of our faith,” Dwivedi said. ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ is set to release on June 3 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Manushi Chhillar, Sanjay Dutt and Sonu Sood are also a part of the period drama. (ANI)