Kunal Kapoor will be seen playing the role of Babur, the first Mughal emperor who ruled between 1526-1530 AD, in the upcoming period series ‘The Empire’. The actor will be showcasing his character’s 25-year-long journey for which he underwent a physical transformation.
‘The Empire’ is a fictional saga of a warrior-turned-king based on books by Alex Rutherford, a pen name of two authors, Diana Preston and her husband Michael Preston. They are known for the six-book historical fiction series ‘Empire of the Moghul’.
Kunal said: “This is the character who doesn’t reach the throne till very, very late in his life. For a large part of the show he is in the forest. It’s a character who goes through a huge journey.”
The 43-year-old added: “From somebody who is a young prince to somebody thrown out of the kingdom and to eventually becoming the emperor. The journey spans about 25 years. So, for me it was very important that I look slightly different physically.”
“Which is why I lost weight and for older parts I put on some weight. So there is a physical distinction between the two characters.”
He did not stop there. Kunal made changes in the voice of the characters.
“The third thing was the change in mindset. The character when he is young is a bit rash and takes decisions which are not thought through as the character becomes older he becomes more thoughtful. The mindset was important,” said the actor, who is married Naina Bachchan, niece of Amitabh Bachchan.
Kunal shared that he has evolved as a person.
“Who I was 20 years back is different from who I am today. There are huge changes from who I am and what I feel so that changes were very important to make,” he said.
Asked about playing a character like Babur, Kunal said: “This is a book by Alex Rutherford and it is an adaptation of that. So, fortunately for us the source material had a lot of information. This is historical fiction and the way that the character is written in the book is very, very detailed.”
He credits the show’s director Mitakshara Kumar for making a strong script for ‘The Empire’.
Kunal said: “Sometimes what happens is when a director comes on board and adapts a book the script fails in comparison to the book. But fortunately for us our director Mitakshara took the script and the book and made the script better than the book was.
“So, she has written the characters in such a detailed way that there was no requirement for me to do research out of that except to understand the time.”
The ‘Rang De Basanti’ actor is feeling nervous and excited for the release of the show.
“It is a combination of nervousness and excitement. The trailer has been very well received and I hope that the show lives up to the expectations,” he said.
Directed by and produced by Monisha Advani and Madhu Bhojwani, ‘The Empire’ will be released on Disney+ Hotstar.