Inspired by the third battle of Panipat which took place in 1761 between the Marathas and the Afghan forces, Ashutosh Gowariker’s epic war saga ‘Panipat’ is all set to hit the silver screens this December. While Arjun Kapoor is in the role of courageous Maratha Peshwa ‘Sadashivrao Bhao’ and Kriti Sanon is playing as his wife ‘Parvati Bai’, Sanjay Dutt has taken up the challenging role of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the fearsome Afghani ruler who was aided by few Indian allies in the great battle. Labelled as the greatest betrayal of Indian bloody battle history, Panipat promises to be an exhilarating ride. Curious about what transpired in what is regarded as one of the largest battles of the 18th century, read on to know the real story of the battle!
Rise of Sadashiv Rao Bhau
Nephew of the great Maratha warrior ‘Peshwa Bajirao’, Sadashiv was born in 1730 and was brought up by his aunt Kashibai. At the age of 16, he undertook his first campaign and won his first battle capturing a total of 36 parganas for the Marathas. In subsequent years, upon conquering several regions and crushing many revolts, he also won the fort of Daulatabad but as the news of Ahmad Shah Abdali’s march towards Delhi reached the Marathas, the war council decided to send Sadashivrao north in order to resist the Afghans. With the talented Arjun Kapoor portraying the role of Sadashiv in Panipat, the movie could become the highest-grossing film of the actor.
Return of Ahmad Shah Abdali
Founder of the Durrani empire, Ahmad Shah Abdali proved himself in Nader Shah’s service and was part of his military during the invasion of Mughal empire in 1738. Upon Shah’s death in 1747, Abdali became the King of Afghanistan and went on to invade the Mughal empire seven times between 1748 and 1767. In 1761, the third battle of Panipat was being fought between Durrani’s Afghan forces and the Maratha forces. Remarkably channeling the energies of the fierce Afghan ruler, Sanjat Dutt is all set to dazzle the screen as Ahmad Shah Abdali in Panipat.
Dramatic Chain of Events
Upon the death of Mughal Emperor ‘Aurangzeb’, the Marathas started expanding their territories and conquered a considerable part of India. On the other hand, upon hearing the news of his son being sacked by the Marathas, Ahmad Shah Durrani retaliated and was able to conquer Lahore as well as Delhi by the end of 1759. Upon losing several smaller battles initially, Durrani was infuriated to such an extent that he ordered for crossing the river at all costs to attack. When the Marathas were unsuccessful in preventing Abdali’s forces from crossing Yamuna, they prepared for the decisive war in Panipat. With a supporting cast of veteran actors such as Padmini Kolhapure, Zeenat Aman, Mohnish Behl and more, Panipat promises to be an epic drama.
Third Battle of Panipat
The Third Battle of Panipat lasted for several days, comprising over 125,000 troops from both sides. Already coping with their limited food supply, the Maratha army led by Sadashiv Rao was unable to withstand the Afghan forces which were quite larger in number. Eventually, many of the Maratha forces fled the scene, most of them killed or taken prisoner by the Afghani troops. One of the main reasons for this defeat was the advanced Afghans’ artillery as compared to Maratha’s weaponry. In addition to it, the inability of Marathas to make alliance with Rajputs, Jats and Sikhs also contributed significantly to their downfall. Packed with elaborate sets, intense battle sequences and gripping drama, Panipat promises to be a visual treat with all its grandeur.
It is estimated that around 60,000–70,000 men were killed in battle from both sides, recording the largest number of casualties in a single day between two armies. As the Afghan forces emerged victorious after destroying Maratha flanks, about 40,000 Maratha prisoners were massacred the day after the battle. Post their victory, the Abdali troops ran wild through the streets of Panipat, taking the women and children as slaves in Afghan camps. Despite winning the battle, the Afghans weren’t able to rule any further.
Watch the ‘Panipat’ trailer here:
A battle which changed the power equations, the battle of Panipat is always remembered as a scene of immense bravery and undisputed valour on both sides. Brace yourselves for an epic war saga like never before this December in Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Panipat’. Book your movie tickets on Paytm.