Riteish Deshmukh upsets Shivaji followers, apologises

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Mumbai, July 6 (IANS) Bollywood actor-producer Riteish Deshmukh on Friday left followers of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj upset by posting a photograph of himself in front of the Maratha warrior’s statue at the Raigad Fort. He later apologised for hurting people’s sentiments.

Son of late Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Riteish visited the Raigad Fort on Thursday. He posted two photographs of himself from the hill fort. One of these features him as he seems to bow to take blessings from the statue of Shivaji Maharaj.

“Visited Raigad Fort this morning, the capital of Maratha empire. It’s an unimaginable high to feel the presence of one of the greatest warriors born in India, Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Nothing is more invigorating than bowing down and seeking his blessings,” Riteish wrote.

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In another photograph, he, Ravi Jadhav, writer Vishwas Patil, Tejpal Wagh and Sandeep Patil are seen on the plinth of the throne with their back towards the statue.

This hasn’t gone down well with Shivaji followers.

Riteish apologised with a note in Marathi, and said that like other “Shiv bhakts”, he too was in awe of the atmosphere at the fort.

He explained that there was only a gesture of devotion behind it.

“We had no intention to hurt anyone by sitting there or clicking those photos. But if someone is hurt by our act, we expressed heartfelt apologies,” Riteish added.

The actor is producing and acting in a film on Shivaji Maharaj.

–IANS

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