Sunday, June 4, 2023

    ‘The Empire’ Review – ‘The Empire’ is an attempt to present the history of the Mughals as a fiction.

    The history of the Mughals has come to live in discussion these days. On the one hand, demands for a caste-based census are gaining momentum in the country, while the Hindu-Muslim divide is turning into a full-blown movement, hence the release of Disney + Hotstar’s new web series “The Empire”. “A bit immature decision. It seems. Criticism of this web series is increasing because everyone thinks that it shows Mughals as nation builders, while the reality is that this web series is influenced by the style of many international web series. And it is based on a book. . Two foreign authors. Notably, the book is still good to read, because it is based on fiction, but the web series is so raw that it becomes boring to watch and you start looking for ways to avoid boredom. For those who have seen English historical fiction, this is a Small efforts may seem childish.

    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 under a new pseudonym “Alex Rutherford” on the history of the Mughal Sultanate, based on the new web series “The Empire” published on Disney + Hotstar. Bhavani Iyer, writer of most of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Meghna Gulzar’s films, and Mitakshara Kumar, director of the series, jointly adapted the book into a screenplay with dialogues by AM Turaj. Mitakshara has been working as an assistant director in Bollywood for a long time and The Empire web series is his first production to direct. Mitakshara worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in films like Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat.

    There are many misconceptions about the origin of the Mughal Sultanate. Historians of that time also wrote history according to the wishes of the Sultan. Since the arrival of Babur, the Mughals in India tried to enter into the history of India in various ways and when absolute power was established, it became their official right to interfere with the history of India. Many volumes of history before the arrival of the Mughals no longer exist. Books were burnt, experts were eliminated and all important posts were created by the Mughals so that they could continue their work uninterrupted. Any person in power wants to see history in his own eyes and goes out of his way to glorify him. For this reason, there is bound to be a difference between true and written facts.

    The first king of the Mughal Sultanate, Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, has written the story of his arrival and rule in India from his childhood in his book ‘Baburnama’. Babur was the brainchild of the fearsome tyrants Timur (on his father’s side) and Genghis Khan (on his mother’s side). The sycophants also bestowed upon Babur the name of Ferdous Makani. It is surprising that the province from which Babur came, Fergana (Uzbekistan), had a total deposit population of 3 lakhs. At that time there was the reign of Ibrahim Lodhi in India. Babur faced initial attacks, but eventually with the help of traitors hiding in the country, Babur conquered India with a small army and began the Mughal Sultanate.

    Empire has many flaws. As the two authors are English, most of their information is based on books and manuscripts of the period, which naturally represent the Mughals. It is difficult to ascertain what is true or not. But the screenplay and dialogues have tried to bring out many aspects of this story, which have failed. The dialogues are also filmy type. As in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films, where characters are shown spouting big dialogues to show Rajput arrogance, the influence is seen here as well. Blaming the writers should be less because the original book is also written in a very filmy style and is still fictional, not real.

    It is not known who is trying to be influenced in the act, but it is clear that no one is being tried to be influenced. With Kunal Kapoor unleashing his talent, there is no doubt that The Empire will be able to do something special for him. For the first time, there was a lot of confusion on his face. This happens when you don’t agree with the character or you don’t understand the character properly. Both things seem to be happening in Kunal’s case. Did Kunal’s character need a ‘gay’ shade? Kunal is also the facilitator in the initial few episodes, so viewers don’t realize they are watching flashbacks.

    Dino Morea’s talent was not there, not yet. Bhansali’s character has taken the mannerisms straight from Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh), not to mention the ups and downs acting, if not the dialogues. In ordinary life it is impossible to understand why a king or a general or any character speaks in the style of chiropractic or in the style of speech. 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 role deliberately.

    Drishti Dhami’s character was important but she tried to bring a new dimension to it with her limited acting ability. His elder sister Khanzada played an important role in Babur’s life and is mentioned in many places in the Babur Nama. Drishti should have been given a little more roll. Rahul Dev’s role is also similar to the one he has been playing most of the time. Rahul Dev is a good actor, his role is small but important. Imad Shah’s character is like his hair, tangled. Understanding the need for this character is a puzzle. There are many more minor characters who keep coming.

    One good thing about this series is its production value. It has been extensively thought out. Shown on a large scale. However, with the help of computer graphics, shots of forts, palaces and cities have been created. The color scheme is very well kept, in many places it seems influenced by ‘Game of Thrones’ but the use of lots of bright colors is a misnomer of the Mughal era. Nigam Bomjan, the cinematographer of films like Paap, Paltan, Rakh, and Satyamev Jayate, has done excellent camera work. The technique of catching actors suddenly on camera is useful for web series but weak actors are caught. In addition to Nigam, Yannis Manolopoulos also directed the camera. London Film School’s Yanis has also previously worked well in ZEE5’s web series “The Final Call”. Nikhil Advani’s former editor Sagar Manik edited the series, this time with another partner, Atanu Mukherjee. It has been edited as needed. The pace is still sorely lacking in thrills.

    It should be appreciated that an attempt was made to create a web series of this kind and scale in India. It is based on the first book in Alex Rutherford’s series of books on Mughlia Sultanate, it is expected that the next installments in this series will also be based on Humayun, Akbar, Shahjahan etc. Nikhil Advani should first change the author circle and directory. The writers adapted the book into a screenplay, but if they had done a little research together, it wouldn’t have turned into a battle of fact and fiction, and viewers would have seen it as a normal web series.

    See Empire. Treat it like a simple story. Mughals do not have a glorious history. This is the story of how his empire was founded. Babar’s glory is not what many believe, but Babar is a very ordinary boy who after his father’s untimely death at the age of 14 continues to strive for his power and even gives up to save the family. It will not feel like a historical story.

    Detailed rating

    the story ,
    screenpl ,
    orientation ,
    the music ,

    Tags: review, web series

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