Panipat (film)

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Panipat (film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAshutosh Gowariker
Written byAshok Chakradhar (dialogue)
Chandrashekhar Dhavalikar
Ranjeet Bahadur
Aditya Rawal
Ashutosh Gowariker
Produced bySunita Gowariker
Rohit Shelatkar
StarringArjun Kapoor
Sanjay Dutt
Kriti Sanon
Narrated byKriti Sanon
(as Parvati Bai)
Ashutosh Gowariker (Climax)
CinematographyC. K. Muraleedharan
Edited bySteven Bernard
Music byAjay–Atul
Ashutosh Gowariker Productions
Vision World Films
Distributed byReliance Entertainment
Release date
  • 6 December 2019 (2019-12-06)
Running time
162 minutes[1]
Budget₹92 crore[2][better source needed]
Box officeest. ₹49.29 crore[3]

Panipat is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language epic war drama film directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar.[4] Starring Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Kriti Sanon, it depicts the events that took place during the Third Battle of Panipat. The film was theatrically released in India on 6 December 2019.[5][6] The film was a box office failure.[7]


By 1758, the Maratha Empire had reached its peak under the leadership of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao aka Nana Saheb. Maratha commanders Raghunath Rao, the Peshwa's brother, Shamsher Bahadur, the Peshwa's half-brother, and Sadashiv Rao Bhau, the Peshwa's cousin, defeat the Nizam of Hyderabad and capture their commander of artillery Ibrahim Khan Gardi, with Sadashiv inducting him into the Maratha Army as their commander of artillery. They return home to the Empire's capital at Pune and are welcomed. Due to pressure by his wife Gopika Bai, the Peshwa appoints Sadashiv as the Empire's finance minister in favour of the Peshwa's son Vishwas Rao, which he reluctantly accepts.

Sadashiv lists the defaulters who failed to pay taxes to the Maratha Empire on time, and notes that the Rohilla's Head Najib ad-Dawlah has the largest amount of tax due. Najib, determined to teach the Marathas a lesson, allies himself with Ahmad Shah Abdali, inviting him to Delhi. News of this formidable alliance reaches Pune, along with the news of Dattaji Shinde's death in battle against Najib. The Peshwa appoints Raghunath Rao as the commander of the Maratha forces which will be dispatched to fight Abdali and defend Delhi. However, Raghunath asks for a large amount of money, which Sadashiv denies, citing the treasury's condition after consecutive battles. Raghunath, therefore, refuses to march north, which leads the Peshwa to appoint Sadashiv as the commander-in-chief of the Maratha army, under the overlordship of Vishwas Rao, the Peshwa's son and heir. The army, along with a large number of non-combatants (women, children and pilgrims), begin their long and arduous journey north.

They arrive at Dholpur, where they're welcomed by their fellow Maratha generals— Govind Pant Bundela, Balwant Rao Mehendale, Jankoji Shinde, and the veteran Malhar Rao Holkar. They start making alliances with other kingdoms, including Maharaja Suraj Mal and Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah, and are successful, with their army size growing to 50,000 men. Abdali is also making alliances, taking advantage of the Rajput kings' hatred for the Marathas. Sadashiv and the commanders receive intelligence that Abdali has camped on the other side of the Yamuna and spot Shuja's flags along with Abdali's, revealing that the Nawab had switched allegiance. Due to the heavy rains, the Marathas are unable to build a bridge to cross the Yamuna. Sadashiv decides to march north and capture Delhi and then cross the Yamuna to defeat Abdali.

Najib receives intelligence that the Marathas have retreated, from which Abdali deduces that they are marching north to Delhi. He suggests that they also march north and cross the Yamuna. Meanwhile, the Marathas defeat Najib's general and capture Delhi. After finding out the Afghans are chasing the Marathas, Sadashiv decides to strategically capture Kunjpura Fort and eventually carry out a massacre there of helpless Afghans departed from their main column, which angers Abdali to such an extent that he immediately reacts by crossing the swollen Yamuna in heavy rainfall. This leaves the Maharaja of Patiala, Ala Singh, unable to send his soldiers. Food begins to dwindle, and the Maratha soldiers and civilians are forced to go without food. Although the arrival of King Araadhak Singh provides some relief to the Maratha camp, but soon after camping at Panipat, Abdali catches up with the Marathas and comes face to face. However, after hearing of a possible coup d'état at his capital in Kandahar, Abdali arranges for a truce with Sadashiv but scraps it after the latter disagrees to Abdali's terms. After both sides decide on strategies and formations, they prepare for the final confrontation.

Parvati Bai and the civilians and pilgrims stay at a small camp towards the back, and Vishwas promises Sadashiv that he'll never get off his elephant during the battle for his own protection. Artillery firing begins by both sides, with substantial damage done to Abdali's army due to Ibrahim Khan's leadership. The riflemen also start attacking. The infantry then begins the main attack, with the Marathas doing well. Overcome with fear, many soldiers of Abdali's army retreat, but Abdali threatens them with severe punishment and forces them to return to the battle. Meanwhile, on seeing Shamsher wounded, Vishwas descends from his elephant to protect him. Sadashiv fends off the Afghans who attacked the young prince, but a bullet hits Vishwas on his head, killing him. This is a huge blow to the morale of the Marathas, who begin to lose ground from then. One by one, the Maratha chieftains are either wounded or killed. Araadhak Singh unexpectedly retreats from the battle. It is then revealed that he was angry with the Marathas for the high taxes imposed upon them, so he secretly allied himself with Abdali and passed the information onto him. Seeing the tide of the battle turn, Malhar Rao retreats from the battlefield and escorts the non-combatants to safety, as promised to Sadashiv on the eve of the battle. Abdali's soldiers close in on Sadashiv but he bravely fights back, sustaining serious injuries. He eventually succumbs to his wounds and dies, but not before making Abdali aware of his pyrrhic victory.

Back in Pune, Parvati Bai dies from grief. Abdali sends the Peshwa a letter, praising Sadashiv's bravery and courage. The epilogue reveals that even though victorious, Abdali never returned to India. Under the leadership of Peshwa Madhav Rao, the generals Mahadaji Shinde and Tukoji Rao Holkar saved the Maratha empire from extinction, and re-captured Delhi ten years later, making the Marathas a dominant force once again.




Art Director Nitin Chandrakant Desai recreated Shaniwar Wada at ND Studios, Karjat.[8] Neeta Lulla designed the costumes.[9] Padmini Kolhapure joined the cast in October 2018 as Gopika Bai.[10] In June 2019, Zeenat Aman joined the cast to portray Sakina Begum.[11]


On 30 November 2018, Gowariker and the cast tweeted a promotional poster to announce the beginning of principal photography.[12] On 30 June 2019, Sanon wrapped up the shoot by posting pictures and notes for Gowariker and Kapoor.[13]


Soundtrack album by
Released28 November 2019[14]
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelZee Music Company
Ajay–Atul chronology
Super 30
Panipat – Full Movie Audio Jukebox on YouTube

Ajay–Atul were the composers of the music for the film. The songs were written by Javed Akhtar.[15][16]

Track list
1."Mard Maratha"Ajay–Atul, Sudesh Bhosle, Kunal Ganjawala, Swapnil Bandodkar, Padmanabh Gaikwad, Priyanka Barve6:05
2."Mann Mein Shiva"Kunal Ganjawala, Deepanshi Nagar, Padmanabh Gaikwad5:17
3."Sapna Hai Sach Hai"Abhay Jodhpurkar, Shreya Ghoshal5:26
Total length:16:48

Release and reception[edit]

The film was released on 6 December 2019 in theatres and on 14 February 2020 on Netflix.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics.[18] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film scored 43% by critics.[19] Monika Rawal Kukreja of Hindustan Times wrote "Panipat is an honest attempt at recreating the war that we only read in history books until now. It’s a tribute to the Maratha community in its truest form and even it was shorter by an hour, it could have had the same impact".[20] The Times of India gave 3.5 out of 5 stars stating "Panipat delves into a significant chapter in history and is a war drama that lauds the unshakable bravery, courage and the strong principles of the Maratha's".[21] India Today gave 2.5 out of 5 stars stating "Ashutosh Gowariker may not be able to do grandeur like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, but he can do war. Yet, a lacklustre cinematography and terrible CGI mars this solid attempt. It would have worked 10 years ago".[22]

Namrata Joshi of The Hindu wrote "Gowariker may have taken liberties with history, but doesn’t play around with the form. He sticks to the tried and tested, the long and langourous and old-fashioned".[23] Bollywood Hungama gave 3 out of 5 stars stating "Panipat throws light on an important chapter of Indian history with the battle scenes as its USP".[24] Zee News gave 3 out of 5 stars stating "The film is a great effort by Gowariker and deserves to be watched for some impeccable performances and adrenaline-pumping action".[25]

News18 gave 2.5 out of 5 stars stating "Panipat, a film about Maratha warrior Sadashiv Rao Bhau who staves off Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali, disappoints only because of a linear screenplay that fails to rouse dramatic emotions so important to historicals".[26] NDTV gave 2 out of 5 stars stating "The burden on Arjun Kapoor is too heavy for him though he rises manfully to the challenge. Panipat definitely isn't Mohenjo Daro. But is that saying much? It will take three hours of your life and a whole lot of patience to sit through this laboured film".[27] Deccan Chronicle gave 2.5 out of 5 stars stating "Directors like Gowariker do no service to the nation or their audience by twisting the truth, ignoring military, diplomatic, common sense follies and rewriting history with jingoistic fervour".[28]

Portrait of Ahmad Shah Durrani in Afghan Costume

BBC News and Al Jazeera reported that the film received criticism from different parts of the world, especially from Afghanistan since Ahmad Shah Abdali is the national hero and the founder of modern day Afghanistan.[29][30] Afghan viewers pointed that the film's portrayal of Abdali was that of an Arab, rather than an Afghan. Critics linked the rising number of Bollywood films with negative Muslim characters, such as the portrayal of Alauddin Khilji as a cruel and vicious ruler in the film Padmaavat (2018), as an attempt by the industry executives to align with India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, a Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.[29]

The Panipat trailer depicted Ahmed Shah Durrani as a ruthless and brutal ruler[31] and Afghans as 'battle-hardened, blood-thirsty savages'.[32] While the film presented Marathas as "sophisticated and righteous".[32] Consul General of Afghanistan in Mumbai, Naseem Sharifi, said that 'Afghans would not tolerate any insult to Ahmad Shah Durrani'. Afghan journalists stated that the film will create more Islamophobia and racism towards Afghans. The Telegraph India reported that films like Padmaavat (2018), Kesari (2019) and Panipat have stereotyped and vilified Afghans as brutal, cold-blooded and treacherous.[33] Afghanistan's Ambassador to India, Tahir Qadiri, claimed that he was in contact with Indian officials and have shared the Afghan concerns with them. Ajmal Alamzai, the cultural attache at the Afghan embassy in New Delhi, claimed that he had made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the director of the film. Pajhwok Afghan News reported that the Panipat film trailer depicted the Maratha Empire as victorious in the Third Battle of Panipat despite the fact that it was Ahmad Shah Durrani, who had won the battle.[34] Khaama Press, another Afghan newspaper, reported that some Afghan social media users have welcomed the film as reality while others criticised it and claimed that parts of history have been forged in favour of specific groups.[35]

Box office[edit]

Panipat's opening day domestic collection was 4.12 crore. On the second day, the film collected ₹5.78 crore. On the third day, the film collected ₹7.78 crore, taking the total opening weekend collection to ₹17.68 crore.[3]

As of 10 January 2020, with a gross of 40.81 crore in India and 8.48 crore overseas, the film has a worldwide gross collection of 49.29 crore.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Panipat makers opt for self-censorship; REMOVE 11 minutes of controversial content". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Panipat - Movie". Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Panipat Box Office". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Ashutosh Gowariker to recreate Shaniwar Wada for 'Panipat'". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Kriti Sanon to play an RJ in her next to be directed by Rahul Dholakia?". The Times of India. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Ashutosh Gowariker's period drama 'Panipat' first poster is out". Connect Gujarat. November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  7. ^ "'Panipat' box office collection day 5: Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon and Sanjay Dutt's periodic drama fails to impress the audience". Times of India. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Ashutosh Gowariker To Recreate Shaniwar Wada for Panipat". Koimoi. 19 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Neeta Lulla to design costumes for Ashutosh Gowariker's 'Panipat'". The Times of India.
  10. ^ "Padmini Kolhapure joins Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Sanjay Dutt in Ashutosh Gowariker's Panipat". Firstpost.
  11. ^ "Veteran actress Zeenat Aman joins cast of Ashutosh Gowariker's Panipat. Details here". India Today. Ist. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Panipat: Sanjay Dutt, Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon starrer goes on floors". Zee News.
  13. ^ "Kriti Sanon wraps up the shoot of Panipat; shares a note thanking Arjun Kapoor and Ashutosh Gowariker | Bollywood News". Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Panipat - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Jio Saavn.
  15. ^ "Ajay-Atul to create music for 'Panipat'". Deccan Chronicle.
  16. ^ "Javed Akhtar to pen lyrics for Ashutosh Gowariker's 'Panipat'". The Times of India.
  17. ^ "Panipat - The Great Betrayal". Netflix.
  18. ^ "Panipat movie release LIVE UPDATES: Ashutosh Gowariker film opens to mixed reviews". The Indian Express. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Panipat - The Great Betrayal". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Manmadhudu 2 movie review: Nagarjuna, Rakul Preet starrer is a hopelessly bad rom-com". Hindustan Times. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  21. ^ "Panipat Movie Review : A Layered, Detailed War Drama". Times of India. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  22. ^ "Panipat Movie Review: Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Kriti Sanon film is a brave attempt". India Today. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  23. ^ Joshi, Namrata (6 December 2019). "'Panipat' movie review: Sticks to the tried-and-tested format, but falls short of its ambition". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Panipat Movie Review". Bollywood Hungama. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Panipat movie review: Kriti Sanon outshines Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt in epic saga". Zee News. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  26. ^ "Panipat Movie Review: Ashutosh Gowariker's Simplistic Approach Fails to Meet Expectations". News18. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  27. ^ "Panipat Movie Review: Arjun Kapoor's Film Perks Up A Tad When Sanjay Dutt Surfaces". NDTV. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  28. ^ "Panipat movie review: Rewriting historical defeats with patriotic fervour". Deccan Chronicle. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  29. ^ a b "Panipat: The Bollywood battle over an 18th Century war". BBC. 8 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Bollywood's Panipat irks Afghans over founding father's portrayal". Al Jazeera. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  31. ^ Sangeeta Nair (8 November 2019). "Panipat Movie controversy: Can Ahmad Shah Abdali's portrayal impact Indo-Afghan ties?".
  32. ^ a b "Afghans Unhappy With Movie Panipat Over Vilifying Ahmad Shah Abdali". Eurasian Times. 7 November 2019.
  33. ^ "Vilifying Afghans in Bollywood". The Telegraph India. 6 November 2019.
  34. ^ "New Indian movie on Panipat battle roils Afghans". Pajhwok Afghan News. 6 November 2019. Archived from the original on 6 November 2019.
  35. ^ "The upcoming Bollywood movie 'Panipat' sparks anger among the Pashtun's of Afghanistan". Khaama Press. 6 November 2019.

External links[edit]