Nikkhil Advani speaks about the women of ‘The Empire’

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“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men” is the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about historicals and period drama. However, Nikkhil Advani, the showrunner of “The Empire”, has revealed that the upcoming series is also about women and how they manipulate the destinies of the kings and emperors.

“The Empire” is a fiction 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.

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Talking about making a show centering around the first Mughal emperor in India who ruled between 1526-1530 AD, Nikkhil said, “The first book, which is Alex Rutherford’s book, is about Babur and then it traces the entire empire in the six books. We have just stuck to the book.

“The idea and concept was to do a story about the book and to be true to the anthology. Hopeful as the seasons proceed you will see all the emperors coming in. But the more important… The show is not called the emperor, it is called empire.”

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It revolves around actor Kunal Kapoor, who takes centre stage as the King of the series. He is joined by actresses Shabana Azmi, Drashti Dhami among many others, including Dino Morea.

What makes the show more interesting is that it is not just limited to kings and kingdoms.

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“The women characters are extremely important in the show,” stressed Nikkhil.

Veteran actress Shabana Azmi, will be seen playing Esan Daulat, grandmother of Kunal’s titular character of Babur. Her character can be described as the all-powerful head of a royal family. Drashti plays a warrior princess Khanzada, the sister of Babur.

Weaving the story of Babur’s grandmother is a first.

Talking about it, the showrunner said: “Those are the things that actually appealed to me when I read the book. The kingmakers and the women and the kind of sacrifices that they have made and the games that they were playing while being in the background.”

He added: “How they manipulate the destinies of these kings and emperors we have only read about but it is their untold story. It became all fascinating when all of us started reading the book.”

The eight-episode series has been shot across multiple locations in India and Uzbekistan.

Created by Nikkhil Advani of Emmay Entertainment, “The Empire” traces the beginning of a dynasty.

Co-directed by Mitakshara Kumar and produced by Monisha Advani and Madhu Bhojwani, “The Empire” will release soon only on Disney+ Hotstar.

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