Ashutosh Gowariker On The Casting Of Magnum Opus “Panipat”

Mohnish Singh |Nov 19, 2019

Ashutosh Gowariker is coming up with his next directorial outing Panipat which features Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon and Sanjay Dutt in principal roles.

Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker, who has several successful historical films to his credit, is coming up with yet another period drama titled Panipat. Based on the third battle of Panipat fought between Maratha Empire and invading Afghan army of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the upcoming film stars Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon and Sanjay Dutt in central characters.

In a recent interview, when Ashutosh Gowariker was asked how did he come about roping in Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon and Sanjay Dutt in the film, the filmmaker said, “According to descriptions, Sadashiv Rao Bhau was a large man, a warrior with brute strength. Arjun fitted the bill. Also, he was free then to give me the commitment I wanted. And having seen his Ishaqzaade (2012), 2 States (2014) and Finding Fanny (2014), I knew him as a natural, understated performer. Kriti is beautiful, and having played the girl-next-door in all films, I thought it would be nice to see her in regality as Parvati Bai.”

Panipat
Image source: Instagram

Talking about Sanjay Dutt, Ashutosh Gowariker said, “Sanjay and I go back a long way, having been co-actors on Naam (1986). When I asked him why he had never done a historical before, he said simply that no one had asked him. So, I did. He is my Afghan invader, Ahmad Shah Abdali. All three were my first choices. Along with them, I have an interesting ensemble cast in Mohnish Bahl, Padmini Kolhapure and Zeenat Aman ji.”

The last directorial of Ashutosh Gowariker, Mohenjo Daro (2017), was a big commercial failure. Was it difficult for him to get investors for Panipat? “For a project to be greenlit, you need actors willing to work with you and funders who will back you. I was fortunate to get both. Also, I have a pillar in Sunita. She’d also come out of Mohenjo Daro and had she told me not to make Panipat, I wouldn’t have. My wife has a natural business acumen, she understands numbers and finds solutions to problems which are huge. We also found a collaborative partner in Rohit Shelatkar, who has been harvesting this dream for a while.”

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