Junaid Khan on Why He Chose ‘Maharaj’ Role


Junaid Khan, who has been receiving praise for his performance in his debut film ‘Maharaj,’ shared what drew him to the character of Karsandas Mulji. The film, which explores the significant 1862 Maharaj Libel Case, shines a spotlight on the life of social reformer Karsandas Mulji.

In a candid conversation with ANI, Junaid expressed his admiration for the story of Mulji. “He was a real person who, in 1862, was addressing issues that are still relevant today. These societal problems exist everywhere, and he was fighting them when we had much less knowledge. His character and story are incredibly inspirational,” he said.

Junaid also discussed what attracted him to the script of ‘Maharaj.’ “I’ve been performing in dramas since 2017 and have attended several movie auditions. Siddharth sir and Aditya (Chopra) sir called me after seeing one of my auditions. When I heard the story, I immediately liked it and agreed to the script,” he shared.

Director Siddharth P Malhotra described the emotional journey of bringing the film to release. “I was moved by Mulji’s character when I saw a Gujarati play directed by Vipul Mehta, who co-wrote this film. The play highlighted a journalist and social worker who stood up for what was right, even if those things were controversial at the time. I knew this was a story of an unsung hero that needed to be told. We developed the script, cast Junaid, Jaideep sir, and other actors, and made the film. But the release period was very tough,” Malhotra recounted.

He continued, “We faced judgments based on the cover and poster alone, which was very painful. But now that the film is out, people are seeing its true message. It’s pro-religion, pro-humanity, and I’m happy that Junaid, Jaideep sir, and the writing are getting so much appreciation.”

‘Maharaj,’ directed by Siddharth P Malhotra and produced by Yash Raj Films (YRF) Entertainment, also features Jaideep Ahlawat and Shalini Pandey, with a special appearance by Sharvari. The film faced a brief legal hurdle when the Gujarat High Court temporarily stayed its release. However, this stay was lifted, and YRF expressed gratitude in an official statement: “We are grateful to the judiciary for allowing the release of ‘Maharaj,’ a film that celebrates one of the most important social reformers of our country, Karsandas Mulji.”

YRF added, “For 50 years, Yash Raj Films has championed India, its stories, its people, culture, and heritage. We have never produced a film that tarnished the reputation of our country or our countrymen.”

‘Maharaj’ is now streaming on Netflix.

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