Altered histories and politics in period dramas such as the recent Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior have been questioned by some. Saif Ali Khan, who plays Mughal General Udaybhan Rathod, the main antagonist in Tanhaji, says that the trend of altered politics has caught on in movies, and that it is dangerous.
Speaking to film critic Anupama Chopra, Saif made it clear that he does not think Tanhaji is an accurate portrayal of history.
"For some reason I didn't take a stand... maybe next time I would," he said, adding, "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."
He continued, "I don't think there was a concept of India till perhaps the British gave it one. I don't think there is really any constructive point in arguing about loudly, provided you yourself know why you're doing it." Saif was referring to the portrayal of Tanhaji's call for Swaraj in the movie, which is based in the 17th century.
Saif added that he would really like to be a part of a film industry that would take a stand, that wouldn't make mass films like this. "Films that would rather say 'hey this is what history is' rather than mould it to certain kind of belief. But people say that is what runs and that's what's given it the extra kind of bump, I mean it's more than just action movie. There's an idea there that seems to have caught on, but certainly a dangerous idea," he said.
Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is a film on the Maratha warrior Tanhaji Malasure. Directed by Om Raut, it stars Ajay Devgn and Kajol alongside Saif.