6 Lesser Known Stories From Indian History That Bollywood Should Pick Up Next

Bollywood and history have gone hand in hand since ages. Stories of the past revolving around the valor and romantic sagas of Indian history have always struck a  chord with the audience. Be it narrating the romance that picked up between Jodha Akbar or the magnum opus Mugah-e-Azam, cinema has been flattered by history. And now comes the release of Padmavati, the story of Rani Padmini and her sacrifice in the name of love and honor.

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However, there are still some unheard tales of love and belonging that stay shut in the chapters of history books, waiting to be heard and told through films. Here are 7 stories that must be retold through Bollywood and should be picked up next. So, directors, pick these up for another time travel.

1. Prithviraj Chauhan And Samyukta: A love that transcends time and space

Daughter of Raja Jaichand of Kannauj, Samyukta fell in love with Prithviraj Chauhan even before meeting him. Through his stories of bravery and valor, she felt she had an undying love for the king. It was a painter from the court of Prithviraj Chauhan, who visited Samyukta with one of his paintings, only to go back and depict the princess’ beauty in one of his poems. Intrigued by her beauty, Prithviraj Chauhan sent for further probing and a love story started when he got a painting for the princess asking him to accept her as his wife.

Not happy with their budding love, Samyukta’s father arranged for a swamyavar to agonize the king. There too, Samyukta went on to put a garland around Prithviraj Chauhan’s statue, which had real him, behind it. They eloped and went on to live a short-lived life together, only to have Prithviraj attacked by Md Ghori. Later, the queen committed Jauhar.

2. The tragic story of Sassui – Punnhun

The story of Sassui – Punnhun is a popular folklore in the Sindh. Sassui born to King of Bhamboor was abandoned by her father after it was predicted that she would bring shame to the family. Later, adopted by a washerman, she grew up to be a beautiful girl. One such tale of her beauty reached the king Punnhun, who traveled to Bhambhooor, and sent his clothes to her to catch a glimpse of her. Perplexed by her beauty, he fell for Sassui.

Her father, not too happy with the match, asked the king to wash the clothes of the entire village. Not accustomed at the work, he ended up tearing all of them. So he kept some gold coins in the torn clothes making all villagers happy.

Post the marriage, Punnhun’s brothers, not happy either, got him heavily drunk on their wedding night and took him to back to Kech on a camel’s back. When the news of him gone reached Sassui, she started her journey to Kech barefoot, reciting his name.

On her way, she met a shepherd who tried to assault her.

Scared, she started screaming, and according to the folklore, the land split and she jumped inside. When Punnhun woke up to realize what had happened, he too started running in Sassui’s direction. On his way, the shepherd told him about the tragic story and the king too lamented until the land split and took him as well. The legendary grave still exists in this valley.

3. The budding love between Shivaji and Saibai

While we know the story of Bajirao-Mastani, the story of pure love between Shivaji, the king of Maratha empire and his wife, Sai Bhosle is less known. Both got married at a young age of 12. While Shivaji stayed outside of the fort most of the time, Saibai spent a lot of time with Shivaji’s mother,  Queen Jijabai. The two became the best of friends, and Saibai remained his closest confidante. Even when Shivaji married other princesses due to political relations, Saibai was his true love, his wife who bore him three daughters and a son.

So much was he fond of her, that after her sudden death at the age of 26, he was shaken and could never fall in love with anyone. At the age of 53, Shivaji breathed his last and his only last word was “Sai”.

4. The empowering couple of Jehangir and Nur Jahan

You must be well versed with the epic romance between Jehangir (Prince Salim) and Anarkali who was a slave and hence their story had a tragic end.  Jehangir also had an amazing love story with Nur Jahan, one of the most empowering reigning ladies of the Mughal empire.

Nur Jahan was known for her love for gardens and had many designed and built during her reign as Jehangir’s wife. She was a widow with a daughter when Jehangir married her. Together they modified laws in Mughal empire that would not force widows to commit suicide.

Nur Jahan was known for her impeccable shooting skills and used to sign many royal edicts under both of their names. She was indeed one of the most powerful empresses to have been recorded in the history of Mughals.

5. Mumal & Mahendra – An Immortal Rajput love story

Mumal was an extremely beautiful Rajput girl who lived in the Kak Mahal of Jaisalmer with her 7 sisters. Together they weaved magic around the palace to test men who were fond of Mumal, for her dazzling beauty. One day Rana Mahendra Sodha, the ruler of Umer Kot in Sindh reached the banks of Kak with his fellow men. Intrigued by him, Mumal sent water and refreshments from the palace. When Mahendra was able to reach the palace without any restrictions by the magic, Mumal was highly impressed and both became fond of each other. Mahendra would come on his camel from Sindh to Jaisalmer at night and leave by dawn.

Unhappy with the budding romance, his family broke the legs of the camel due to which Mahendra could not reach Jaisalmer on time. Taking another camel, he forgot the way and ended up in Barmer. This side at Medhi, Mumal and her sisters started playing, dressed up as men. After some time, they fell asleep with one sister, dressed as a man sleeping next to Mumal. When Mahendra reached Medhi, he was disgusted by the betrayal and went back.

Unable to sort the misunderstanding and make Mahendra forgive her, she set a fire and jumped into it. When Mahendra came to know of this, he rushed to the place where Mumal was already in flames; he joined her to be consumed by the fire along with Mumal.

6. Manvendra Singh Gohil: India’s first royal prince who opened up about homosexuality

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is the son and probable heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat. He is the only gay prince in the world and was also interviewed by the BBC for opening up about his sexuality. In 1991, the prince married Chandrika Kumari but the marriage soon ended up in a divorce as it was not consummated.

Though the world today knows Manvendra Singh Gohil as a dignified man who opened up to the world about his sexuality, it was not until 2006 that he came to full terms with his true nature. Behind this are years of doubt, a failed marriage, a mental breakdown and getting disowned by the family.

Though today, the prince is known for his charity, The Lakshya Trust, which works with the LGBT community, his life story of struggle through rules and inheritance in the country is one story that the world needs to know.

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