Period drama The Empire to premiere on Disney Hotstar on August 27

Period drama The Empire to premiere on Disney Hotstar on August 27

Kunal Kapoor says playing Mughal emperor Babar has been a fascinating experience

New Delhi, August 23, 2021

One of the most interesting offerings on OTT this week will be period drama The Empire, that chronicles the journey Mughal king Babar as he goes about his endeavour to consolidate the Mughal empire in India.

Scheduled to premiere on Disney Hotstar on August 27, The Empire features Kunal Kapoor in the lead with Shabana Azmi, Drishti Dhami and Dino Morea in key roles, The Empire promises to be one of the grandest period dramas on the digital screen.

Directed by Mitakshara Kumar, The Empire, based on Alex Rutherford's Empire of the Moghuls: Raiders from the North, traces the origins of the Mughal dynasty with Kunal Kapoor featuring as Mughal emperor Babar, who laid the foundation of the dynasty.

The epic period-action drama, created by filmmaker-producer Nikkhil Advani, follows the story of a warrior, adventurer, survivor, and a king.

The trailer and promos of the drama have generated a buzz among viewers by promising them a grand visual spectacle showcasing the grandeur of the Mughal period.

The trailer treats viewers to a visual spectacle with battle sequences mounted on a grand scale. It takes viewers through the journey of the Mughal king as he fights his family, dummies and fate to establish his kingdom. Coming in for special praise in the trailer has been Bollywood actor Kunal Kapoor.

For Kunal Kapoor, playing the Mughal emperor has been a fascinating experience.

He said that what he found particularly fascinating about the character of Babar is that it has a lot if layers.

'What I found fascinating about the character of Babar was that it is physically strong but emotionally weak. He is very poetic but can be brutal as well.

"He is an emperor but is crippled by self doubt. So, the character has a lot of layers to it. Playing a character who seems strong and fully in control but when something goes wrong, he completely goes the other way and seems helpless, was exciting," Kapoor said.

He said that the character of Babar in the period drama spans from the age of 30 to 43.

"I had to make a lot of changes to play the younger version of my character. I lost a lot of weight.

"On the other hand, I had to gain a lot of weight to play the older part. Also, I had to make some changes in my voice to play the younger version as well as the older version," he said.

The actor said that doing war sequences in the period drama was extremely challenging.

'Battle scenes have been shot on a huge scale. We shot with hundreds of horse and elephants and thousands of people. Also, what is incredible is that most of it was shot by us during the pandemic

"Riding multiple horses was intimidating. Though I actually enjoyed the horse riding during the shooting, doing the war sequence was incredibly exhausting. At the end of the day, you actually had to crawl back to your room. Also, wearing the heavy constimes in the summer season was extremely challenging," Kapoor said.

On preparing for the role, he said, "I read lots of books of that period."

Kapoor said that working with accomplished actors like Shabana Azmi was amazing.

"I would often watch with amazement at her performance. Whatever scene that she does, she does it do it so incredibly that as an actor you are left watching with amazement at her acting prowess. It is incredible fun to be on sets with her," he said.

Kapoor, who makes his digital debut with The Empire, said that it was the perfect platform for him.

"It is the biggest show to come out of OTT in recent years. It is something that I never really had a chance to do before. I don't think I have been part of something that has been mounted on this big a scale. It is going to be an interesting experience for the audience because, primarily, it is a visual spectacle, the kind of which you have not seen on any platform in this country," he added.


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