The history of Mughals has started living in the discussion nowadays. On one hand the demand for caste-based census is gaining momentum in the country and at the same time the Hindu-Muslim divide is taking the shape of a movement in full swing, in such a situation the release of Disney + Hotstar’s new web series “The Empire” is a bit immature decision. Seems like. Criticism of this web series is getting more because everyone feels that Mughals are being shown as nation builders in it, while the reality is that this web series has been influenced by the style of many international web series. and is based on a book written by two foreign authors. Significantly, the book is still good to read, because it is based on fiction, but the web series is so raw that the mind gets bored while watching and you start looking for ways to avoid boredom. People who have seen English historical fiction may find this a little childish effort.
London-based husband and wife Michael Preston and Diana Preston began writing books separately and then together. When they decided to write a book together, they wrote 8 books on the history of the Mughal Sultanate under a new pseudonym “Alex Rutherford”, on which the new web series “The Empire”, released on Disney+ Hotstar, has been made. Bhavani Iyer, the author of most of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Meghna Gulzar films, and Mitakshara Kumar, the director of the series, have jointly adapted the book into a screenplay with dialogues by AM Turaz. Mitakshara has been working as an assistant director in Bollywood for a long time and The Empire web series is the first production directed by her. Mitakshara has worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in films like Bajirao Mastani and Padmavat.
There have been many misconceptions about the origin of the Mughalia Sultanate. Historians of that time also created history according to the wishes of the Sultan. Since since the arrival of Babur, the Mughals in India tried to enter the history of India in different ways, and when absolute power was established, their tampering with the history of India became their official right. Many fragments of history before the arrival of the Mughals are no longer present. Books were burnt, experts were eliminated and all important posts were made by the Mughals so that they could carry on their work uninterruptedly. Any person in power, wants to see history in his own way and he keeps on trying his best to glorify him. Because of this, there is bound to be a difference between true and written facts.
The story of the first king of the Mughal Sultanate, Zahiruddin Mohammad Babur, from his childhood to reaching India and ruling there, Babur himself has written in his book “Baburnama”. Babur was the spectacle of the family of the dreaded tyrant Timur (from the father’s side) and Genghis Khan (from the mother’s side). The sycophants also awarded Babur the name Firdous Makani. It is surprising that the province from which Babar came from Fergana (Uzbekistan) had a total deposit population of 3 lakhs. Ibrahim Lodhi’s kingdom was in India at that time. Babur had to face the initial attacks, but eventually with the help of the traitors hiding in the country, Babur captured India with the help of a small army and started the Mughal Sultanate.
There are many flaws in The Empire. Since the two authors are English, most of their information is based on books and manuscripts of that time, which naturally represent the Mughals. It is difficult to confirm what is fact or truth. However, in the screenplay and dialogues, many aspects of this story have been tried to be brought to the fore, which has been unsuccessful. The dialogues are also of film type. Like in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films, the characters are shown throwing big dialogues to show Rajput pride, their effect is visible here. The authors should be less to blame because the original book is also written in a very filmy style and is still fiction, not fact.
It is not known who is trying to be influenced in acting, but no effort is being made to impress anyone, it is clear. Kunal Kapoor has been letting his talent go, there is little doubt that The Empire will also be able to do something special for him. For the first time, a lot of confusion has been seen on his face. This happens when you do not agree with the character or you have not understood the character properly. In Kunal’s case, both things seem to be happening. Did Kunal’s character need “gay” shades? In the initial few episodes, Kunal is also the facilitator, so the viewers do not understand that they are watching flashbacks.
Dino Morea neither had talent before, nor has it now. Bhansali’s character has taken direct mannerism from Allauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh), without speaking, speaking with ups and downs in dialogue cannot be called acting. It is impossible to understand why the king or the commander or any character talks in the style of chiropractic or in the style of speech in ordinary life. Shabana Azmi is able to act with her face and eyes due to her acting experience and it is clear that she has been given such a character deliberately.
Drishti Dhami’s character was important but she has tried to bring new dimensions to it with her limited acting ability. His elder sister Khanzada has played an important role in Babur’s life and she is also mentioned in many places in Baburnama. Drishti should have been given a little more roll. The role of Rahul Dev is also the same as he has often been playing. Rahul Dev is a good actor, his role is small but important. Imad Shah’s character is like his hair, tangled. Understanding the need of this character is a puzzle. There are many other small characters who keep coming and going.
One of the good things about this series is its production value. It has been thought of extensively. Shown on a large scale. However, with the help of computer graphics, shots of forts, palaces and cities have been made. The color scheme is very well kept, in many places it seems to be influenced by ‘Game of Thrones’ but the use of bright colors in abundance is one of the misconceptions about the Mughal era. Cinematographer Nigam Bomzon of films like Paap, Paltan, Rakh, and Satyamev Jayate has done excellent camera work. The technique of catching actors suddenly on camera is beneficial for web series but weak actors are caught. Along with Nigam, Yanis Manolopulos has also commanded the camera. Yanis of London Film School had earlier also done a good job in ZEE5’s web series “The Final Call”. Nikhil Advani’s former editor Sagar Manik has edited the series, this time with another partner, Atanu Mukherjee. It has been edited as per the requirement. There is still a dire lack of thrill in the pace.
It should be appreciated that an attempt was made to make a web series of this kind and scale in India. It is based on the first book of the book series written on the Mughalia Sultanate by Alex Rutherford, it is expected that the next parts of this series will also be made on Humayun, Akbar, Shah Jahan etc. Nikhil Advani should first change the author circle and directory. The authors have adapted the book into a screenplay, but if they had done a little research together, it would not have become a battle of fact and fiction and the viewers would have seen it like a normal web series.
Watch The Empire. Treat it like a normal story. The Mughals do not have a glorious history. This is the story of the way his empire was established. Babar’s glorification is not at all like many people believe, but Babar is a very ordinary boy who keeps trying to get his power on the untimely death of his father at the age of 14 and also to save the family. gives up. Don’t look like a historical story.
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