History Repeats Itself

At the launch of TV serial Jodha Akbar,producer Ekta Kapoor and the team explain why it’s fun to work with historic facts and dates

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published:June 17, 2013 5:23 am

As Emperor Akbar,Rajat Tokas’ entry is royal and fitting — he is accompanied by a contingent of soldiers as a court crier announces his arrival. Looking every bit the monarch he is to portray,Tokas is followed by Paridhi Sharma dressed as Princess Jodha of Ajmer. The duo settles into the high chairs,part of the royal setting for the press launch of Jodha Akbar,the latest historic drama on Zee TV that will premiere on June 18.

This series will capture the transformation of 14-year-old ‘Akbar the Warrior’ to ‘Akbar the Great’ after his marriage to Princess Jodha. With the success of Jhansi Ki Rani,a period drama on Zee TV,and Bharat Ka Veer Putra – Maharana Pratap on Sony TV,Jodha Akbar will be yet another story that draws from Indian history. But Ajay Bhalwankar,Head – Content,Hindi GEC,ZEEL,is optimistic. “The rich Indian history gives us pleasure to bring powerful characters to the screen. Jodha Akbar has content that you’re not likely to see otherwise,” he said.

Apart from Tokas as Akbar — incidentally,the actor’s career is dotted with period characters such as Prithviraj Chauhan in Dharti Ka Veer Yodha Prithviraj Chauhan on Star Plus and Veer in Dharam Veer on NDTV Imagine — and Sharma as Jodha,the show has Ashwini Kalsekar playing Mahamanga and Chetan Hansraj as antagonist Adham Khan.

Although comparisons are already being made to the Hrithik Roshan-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan 2008 movie Jodhaa Akbar,Tokas and Sharma are hoping their hard work will show. Producer and Balaji Telefilms joint managing director Ekta Kapoor believes it would be a mistake to emulate the efforts of Prithviraj Kapoor (Mughal-e-Azam) or Hrithik Roshan as the legendary emperor. “The beauty of history is that it is open to interpretation. I want to show the story of an power-crazed,cruel king whom love made him a better ruler,” she said. Confessing that it is her first stint with a history drama,Kapoor added that she enjoyed working with history.

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