History Repeats Itself

To the long list of period dramas on television,add Jodha Akbar,Ekta Kapoor’s first attempt at historical storytelling

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published:June 17, 2013 5:20 am

Actor Rajat Tokas’ entry as emperor Akbar 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,who is dressed as princess Jodha of Ajmer. The couple settles into 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 television series on Zee 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. Ajay Bhalwankar,Head – Content,Hindi GEC,Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd,is optimistic. “The rich Indian history allows us to bring powerful characters to the screen,” he says .

Apart from Tokas — 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,the show stars Ashwini Kalsekar playing Mahamanga and Chetan Hansraj as the antagonist Adham Khan.

Although comparisons are being made to the Hrithik Roshan-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan 2008 movie Jodhaa Akbar,both Tokas and Sharma are hoping to grab the attention of the television viewer.

Producer and Balaji Telefilms’ joint managing director Ekta Kapoor,however,believes that 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 completely open to interpretation. I want to show the story of a power-crazed,cruel king,who love turned into a better ruler,” she says.

This is Kapoor’s first stint with a historical drama. “History gives us a road map with dates and important events. What happened between those is for you to create,” she says.

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