The challenge of transforming a historical period into a TV series can be daunting. This clearly reflects in Ekta Kapoor’s controversial Jodha Akbar which is on the verge of completing 2 months of screening on Zee TV. While after several questions raised all over India by historians and Rajput community on its authenticity, the serial now runs with a disclaimer which states that it doesn’t have any historical backing. Nevertheless, if the so called historical show that self categorizes itself to be historically unauthentic then why the producers and broadcasters are telecasting such a serial?
Let’s assume the directors, producers and the TV channel wants to give us some historical fiction. But in that case, why are they using the names that are historical? Even if there was no Jodha, there was Emperor Akbar and many others that can be traced easily in history.
If you watch the serial forgetting about the discrepancies and only as historical fiction, it gets your attention. So much that it even keeps you intrigued towards it since the serial brilliantly captures the essence of the Mughal Empire and the Rajput Community. However, when you tally the historical records it further disappoints you.
The disclaimer read by Om Puri says that the serial illustrates the ancient times and its situation in the form of TV drama. Although Ekta’s team would have gone through Rajasthan and all over India to do their own bit of research, their homework seems to be incomplete. Here, neither the fictional element nor the subset artistry fits with the historical biopic.
Going by the script, the saddest part is that it props up cardboard characters and claims that they are larger than life. For instance, the negative characterization of Maham Anga! Although nothing has been mentioned of Maham Anga and her ill treatments towards the Hindu ladies in the harem, the biopic turns into a mocking re-establishment of Ekta Kapoor’s modus operandi Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi through Maham Anga. And now that she swears to turn the Rajput princess into a slave only proves that the viewers will have the Ekta Kapoor Saas-Bahu impact in the biopic as well.
Akbar supposedly started his journey in April 1561 towards Malwa to teach Adham Khan a lesson but on his way back he goes to Agra and not Amer unlike shown in the serial. Besides, the Emperor marries Harka Bai, Raj Bharmal’s daughter on February 6 1562, that is a year later unlike shown in the series a few days later.
So, what if aam-junta is not aware of the incidents, year and timeline, our broadcasters are all set to give us a fictional timeline. Not many of us have the time to scroll up the pages to go through history and so we end up believing these stories. I’m sure again Ekta would hit me with the disclaimer but still my point is why play with the history and the legendary names why not simply make a historical fiction with your own names. Going by the mess with the names, data, information and timeline, I now doubt whether the Ramayana and Mahabharat I grew up watching was indeed authentic or fictional?
Balaji Telefilma no doubt are disclosing in the proviso that the serial is to depict the then state of affairs. Ok agreed, but then why not show a fictional milieu, why mess with history and the sentiments of two communities of India?
Acting wise, every character is brilliant. Paridhi Sharma looks fabulous as Jodha Bai, Rajat Tokas fits for the role of Akbar and delivers his lines well. However, what bothers me is the illustration of Ruqaiyya Begum, the principal consort of Emperor Akbar. Ekta Kapoor is known to give her protagonists lot of jewels, costumes and even dresses that emerges so costly even if they have lost a fortune and are living miserable lives. However, in this biopic she is being very brutal to Rukaiya Begum, the first wife of Akbar. For the very first time when I saw her, I couldn’t believe that she is Ruqaiyya Begum. There is no grandeur in her dresses or jewelry. Besides, Ekta should concentrate on depicting the real Mughal Empire. Although she has tried her best illustrating the Rajput Mahals, the Mughal Palace including the interior doesn’t have an archaic touch let alone the majestic grandeur.
Lastly, I am yet to understand why the director is busy spoon feeding the audiences with a narrator where the omniscient storyteller over explains the situation and kills the suspense. Now, when we are enjoying the show taking it as historical fiction – Why should the raconteur mouth the motives behind the events and also what is running in the character’s mind? Why is the show being so explicit – Doesn’t fine art lies in concealing the same?