In the 17th century, Englishman John Locke wrote a work called “A Letter Concerning Toleration” where he argued for the rights of the individual. In the 18th century, another Englishman, David Hume, wrote another similar work called “Of Civil Government”. In both books, Locke and Hume argued that a civil government is formed only by the consent of the people, a concept that is a core principle of democracy. In the 21st century, this idea is once again being questioned.
The other day, I was drinking a cup of coffee in the office when I heard a piercing scream coming from outside. We all rushed to the other side of the building to see what the commotion was all about, but other than a cutesy looking dog, there was nothing. Being the curious fellow I am, I rushed to the other side to figure out what was going on, only to find out I had, in fact, been drinking my coffee while listening to a disney song.
Every year at the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents an award for the best film of the year. I’ve been working as a producer on films for longer than I’ve been alive and I can tell you: no matter what the material, no matter how good the story, no matter how much the studio was happy with the movie – once that movie leaves the cutting room, it’s just a bunch of celluloid – and what the audience remembers is the film.
The Empire debuts on a grand scale, but can the storyline and performers live up to the hype?
Every subsequent fantasy effort with medieval or semi-historical aspirations tends to draw parallels to HBO’s Game of Thrones, which has had such a lasting effect on television. As a result, when the trailer for The Empire was released, comparisons to George R. R. Martin’s epic were unavoidable. Even though the concept is completely different, a couple images, particularly the setting, looked strongly influenced by the series. Now that the program has debuted and I’ve seen the first episode, I’d say that, although the parallels aren’t completely inaccurate, The Empire is more of its own creature.
Season 1 begins with Zahr ud-Dn Muhammad Babur, and the series aims to chronicle the lives and times of the Mughal empire and its many rulers. We go back to Babur’s early days and see his ascent to the kingdom when an unfortunate chain of circumstances takes his father’s life after a short combat scene shows a grown-up Babur (played with elegance by Kunal Kapoor) barely avoiding death. The Mughal period was tainted, so there’s some maneuvering going on here, with his relatives plotting against him and harboring bad intentions. The title of the episode comes from this: more than the king, it’s the one who creates a king who makes the decisions.
Dino Morea’s Shaibani Khan takes against Babur. Khan is portrayed by Morea as a cruel, icy ruler who seems to delight in inflicting chaos. Morea, on the other hand, delivers every sentence with an uncharismatically dark tone that sometimes borders on old school scary villains from Bollywood. Shabana Azmi’s tough, no-nonsense Aisan Daulat Begum, who comes around on Babur and will lead him in his desire to reign, and Rahul Dev’s ferocious but faithful Wazir Khan, who gives Babur a few fighting lessons and, in effect, becomes his Syrio Forel, round out the ensemble.
The Empire makes a concerted effort to establish a grand scale straight on, but some efforts fall short. The opening fight, for example, seems to be one of the last sequences to be filmed, with the majority of the money spent, and covers the surrounding region with dust to reduce scope; the choreography appears chaotic. Despite this, it has some realistic gruesome effects, such as a beheading and a sliced hand. Similarly, the broad views of the Fergana fort are stunning at times, rivaling the fortress of Maahishmati in Baahubali, but they often look artificial owing to the overuse of visual effects rather than set construction. This is particularly apparent as the dovecote starts to fall apart, leading to the episode’s most dramatic scene, which is a little tepid in its abruptness.
Regardless, the CGI is fairly believable, and I get the impression that we’ll be seeing a lot more of it as the series progresses; paradoxically, as much as I want that scale, it’s also my worry. Technically, the film is sound, and the photography is respectable, but every now and then, you’ll see a shot that is totally out of place. Take, for example, Babur’s training, when he is cornered by two friends from the start. To portray a feeling of urgency, the camerawork changes to shaky-cam, but it seems so forced and artificial that the effort falls flat; it’s as if the shaking was added in post. Similarly, several of the combat scenes seem sloppy cut, perhaps to hide the young Babur actor’s lack of experience. Although a couple motifs towards the end show the potential to grow into something good, the soundtrack is mainly hit or miss.
The Empire’s greatest flaw, at least in this season’s debut, is the conviction with which its narrative, direction, and acting are delivered. Although the rest of the ensemble is good, Shabana Azmi and Rahul Dev are the stars of the program. Morea tries hard but falls short in terrifying the audience, while Kunal Kapoor is largely relegated to background narration, which comes off as a bad effort to make the story more lyrical than it is. I’m hoping that future episodes will give them at least one or two opportunities to shine.
Which leads me to the more serious problem at hand: Mitakshara Kumar’s writing and directing. Fundamentally, these two elements are necessary for even the most absurd stories to function. They also lack the conviction and elegance that a series of this level should have. Scenes are produced more like a play (and I don’t mean that in a good way), in that they seem to have been filled in your garden with a few of actors, despite the rich grandeur. While we get a feeling of some overarching story of conquering, the dramatic conversation delivery makes it out to be, it’s not as striking or attention grabbing as the dramatic dialogue delivery makes it out to be. Certain moments, particularly those involving the young actors, make the program resemble Indian TV serials.
It’s also worth mentioning that the program falls under the category of historical “fiction.” That means that the show’s producers will use artistic license in presenting some people and adapting certain events to fit their stories. This removes any requirement for it to be historically correct and instead makes it a program that examines the Mughal period through the eyes of certain actual historical people. As authentic as the Mughal period was at the time, this show’s portrayal is far from accurate.
Despite failing in a few crucial areas, I’m fascinated by The Empire’s potential. The first episode is a solid effort to produce historical fiction on a scale never before seen by Indian viewers, and its success may have a big impact on the kind of Indian web series we can anticipate in the future. In that sense, it may wind up having the same effect as Game of Thrones, despite the fact that it is still a long way from being half as excellent. Definitely good enough to go on with the next episode.
7.0 out of 10 for The Empire Season 1 Episode 1
I first heard of a band called “The King Has Returned” from a friend’s Facebook post. She said that there was a new band that was just the most fantastic thing she had ever heard, and that I had to listen to it. I listened to it on YouTube, and was blown away. The story of the band is a pretty interesting one. From its humble beginnings as a project for a relatively unknown singer/songwriter named Amanda Bishara, The King Has Returned has evolved into a phenomenon, with a worldwide network of fans who crowd their concerts and events.. Read more about king maker synonym and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is difference between king and kingmaker?
The difference between a king and a kingmaker is that the former is in charge of the country, while the latter is someone who helps to elect or appoint a new ruler.
What makes a kingmaker?
A kingmaker is a person who can influence the outcome of a vote or election.
How do you become a kingmaker?
You must be a kingmaker in order to become one.
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