Superstar Akshay Kumar on Monday said his upcoming historical film “Prithviraj” should be mandatory viewing for children in schools as it talks about king Prithviraj Chauhan, who has been reduced to “only a paragraph” in history.
Directed by noted writer-director Chandraparaksh Dwivedi, the film features Kumar in the titular role of the ruler.
During the trailer launch event of the historical drama, the 54-year-old actor said he learnt about the life and times of Prithviraj through the book “Prithviraj Raso” and realised how little people know about the ruler.
“I was given a book to read, ‘Prithviraj Raso’ by Dr saab (Dwivedi). I read the book slowly and realised how big a warrior he was. But when we read about him in history, he was reduced to just a paragraph,” Kumar told reporters.
The actor said “Prithviraj” can be best described as an “educational film” and hoped the younger generation watches it for better understanding of history.
“Today, I want every child, not just in India but in the world to watch the film. It is an educational film. You would want to show your kids what Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan’s story was. I am extremely proud to work in the film. I wish my mother… If she was here, she would have been so proud,” an emotional Kumar, who lost his mother last year, said.
The actor also requested the government to arrange the film’s screening in schools so that it reaches a wider audience.
Kumar said “Prithviraj” has been painstakingly researched and chronicles only the “truth”.
“I would also request the government that they make it compulsory viewing in school, so that the kids learn about our history, what and how everything happened.
“Everything you see in the film is true, it has indeed happened. But we don’t know about it and I find this really amusing. Dr saab has been researching this for 18 years! That’s the amount of hardwork he has put in the film,” he added.
Asked whether the actor will have a special screening of the film for PM Narendra Modi, Akshay, who had famously interviewed the prime minister in 2019, said, “‘Main kya dikhana chahunga. Unko dekhna hoga to vo khud hee dekh lenge. Main koun hota hoon’ (Who am I to show him the film? If he wishe to see the film, he will.)
Kumar said he simply followed the vision of his director for his role as Prithviraj.
“I did not have to unlearn anything. Whatever I have done in the film is with the inputs of the director. I have completely followed his vision. I would just sit with my director, understand what he wanted from me, do rehearsals and then perform. If I say that I did a lot of hard work for the film, then I would be lying,” the actor said.
The trailer of the film, which is based on Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan’s court poet Chand Bardai’s epic poem “Prithviraj Raso”, begins with Akshay’s Prithviraj being crowned as the ruler of Delhi, his romance with princess Sanyogita, played by former Miss World Manushi Chillar and his battle with Muhammad Ghori.
Chillar, who is making her debut with the movie, said there was a lot of pressure to ace the role.
“You get very few opportunities where you are introduced with a film like this. There was a lot of pressure because I had not acted before. But the team I got was extremely helpful… I was a student before the film, so my mindset was very student like. I would go to college, learn and appear for exams,” she said.
The actor said she trained for nine months at Yash Raj Studios to understand the character, the script and what was required of her.
Dwivedi is best known for directing and starring in television epic Chanakya (1991) and the Partition feature film Pinjar (2003).
Backed by Yash Raj Films, “Prithviraj” is scheduled to release on June 3.