With all the scenes from Game of Thrones. The forts look like they’re made of styrofoam. And stone floors that sway when people fall on them. Empire would be inadvertently hilarious if not too boring. OK Computer isn’t the country’s first sci-fi comedy, and “Empire”. Which aired with sub-CGI and cheap prostheses. And is certainly not “the greatest show made in India” as Disney+ claims. Let Hotstar guess.
What a strange directed project this is.
Basic techniques like inserting or blocking seemed foreign to series director Mitakshara Kumar. He appears to have instructed his crew to turn on the cameras. And point them in the general direction of their actor. Who performs their scene with the collective gaze of a deer in the spotlight. But storytelling is much weaker than the visual approach.
Empires are episodic and need not be non-linear. I would complain about the action of time when things get interesting. But this is a complaint based on the assumption that things get interesting in the first place. You do not. Which is quite confusing because, conservatively.
The Empire treats powerful subjects like greed, ambition, and power. As if they were the gangrenous accomplices of the slain Sipahi. Instead, he spent a lot of time talking. So many stories. People often mention the word “darasal”.
And all of this happens in a somber tone. As if every time the characters open their mouths expecting this to be the last time. It’s almost like they know they’re being filmed. “Talwar se zameen destinyh ki jaati hai aur sense se logon ki wafadari,” says Emperor Babur in one scene. But the show never bothered to visually convey that strategy. Maybe we feel too slow to keep up with them?
Ironically, Babur who loved his loyalty was stabbed many times in the back.
One of the players who returned to be played by none other than Imaad Shah. Forget the thought of the poor man being so tragically recruited. That he was called upon to play himself. As a rock carver for a show in Mughal times.
Based on Alex Rutherford’s novel (which I recently learned wasn’t even a real person. But a married couple, tucked away like under a raincoat). Empire is a puffy, round mess. It’s relatively short – eight episodes ranging from 35 minutes to 50 minutes. But watching footage of The Prince of Persia. Which is set in a three-day cycle. Seems like a smoother ride.
Technically, it’s kind of a swing story to the tomb of Babur. The first Mughal king, but actor Kunal Kapoor never gets old. Indeed, this is the main obstacle. It is practically impossible to say who and in which historical age we met because neither one grows old. And then there was the confusing decision to choose Sahher Bamba (22, reportedly). As Maham Begum, Humayun’s mother, played by Aditya Seal (who is believed to be 33 years old). This show.
But we haven’t even talked about Dino Morea. Who plays villain Mohamed Sheibani Khan. As a cross between Joker Jared Leto and Alaudin Hilji Ranvier Singh. If he were to suddenly turn into a cannibal and eat one of his followers. My eyelids wouldn’t blink.
His first “confrontation” with Babur was as slow as watching the grass sway in the wind.
Rahul Dev takes the great seriousness of Wazir Khan, the father figure of Babur. In a plot that’s more heroic than anyone, you’ve seen on the show. He makes his writing look a lot better than it really is. With his measured appearance and relatively easygoing demeanour.
But then Shabana Azmi stepped in and built her whole business herself. What Dino Morea couldn’t accomplish in four episodes, he did with four barely perceptible twitches of his eyebrows.
Like the eight-part GoT episode directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali (without credit), The Empire is hard to recommend. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the entertainment industry. As a whole is preparing Karan Johar for success. If he manages to make the throne.