Revisiting the warrior legend

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Revisiting the warrior legend

Sunday, 03 February 2019 | MUSBA HASHMI

Revisiting the warrior legend

The culture of remaking historicals and mythological shows has picked up with technology and VFX. MUSBA HASHMI tells you how with the show Jhansi Wali Rani

Retelling the age-old stories of Mahabharata, Ramayana, Akbar-Birbal, Rani Laxmibai, Ashoka and many more will never go out of trend. The epic tales of mythology and history have always been an interesting subject to talk upon — both for the viewers and the makers. Therefore, the makers also make sure that they keep on remaking these shows and conceptualise it in a different narrative altogether.

Be it Chanakya, Porus, Razia Sultan, Veer Shivaji, Jhansi Ki Rani or Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat all these shows have already been telecasted multiple times on the small screen but still remain of much interest to the viewers. This is because of the creativeness of the makers and or the actors who are able to portray the same character without it being repetitive.

Ashok Banker, creator and writer of the famous television series — Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat feels that there are certain subjects that appeal to the audience no matter how many times they are made. “It’s a tried and tested fact that only certain subjects attract viewers on television. Unfortunately, this means that viewers only want to see the same famous subjects over and over again, presented in new ways. Every time, writers and producers have attempted to tell other lesser known stories, the shows have failed. No matter how well researched, well written, and well produced the show may be, or how original the subject and treatment, if audiences reject it, channels won't keep it on air. Over time, channels have learned which subjects attract viewers and which don’t. What choice do they have but to recycle the same old stories again and again!,” he says.

Banker tells you that the biggest challenge of remaking the show is to have a fresh take or pitch is the biggest challenge. “This is a writer’s vision. Sadly, in India, TV is producer-driven unlike elsewhere in the world where writers are the producers and drivers of TV shows and call the shots. Producers mistakenly think that lavish sets, costumes, props, VFX or gimmicks like motion capture will attract audiences and fail to focus on the writer's vision. This is why so many shows like Siya Ke Raam fail. Only a writer can offer a fresh take on an old subject. You have to be able to retell the same old story in a fresh new way,” he tells you and says that this how you tell the story that sets you apart. Those who simply imitate will always suffer in comparison.

Banker explains that all the modern day technology that is being used in the making of mythological and historical based shows is nothing but just a cover up for a bad script.

“All the modern techniques, VFX, CGI, animation, motion capture, and other gimmicks are attempts to cover up a failure to write good scripts. The most enduring shows don’t depend on these gimmicks, they tell great stories brilliantly. That’s all you need. My upcoming new mythological show Ma Mahalakshmi is an example of storytelling that doesn’t depend on VFX crutches. Ultimately, nothing can beat the power of good storytelling,” Banker tells you.

To add to the list, Colors TV is coming up with a new show Jhansi Wali Rani which is scheduled to be aired from February 11. The show is based on the life of Rani Laxmibai and her journey to the throne.  Anushka Sen will be seen playing Rani Laxmibai in the show.

Sen says that the patriotic and strong nature of the character is what attracted her towards this role.

“I was very excited when I was offered this role; it is the kind of role that no actor will ever say no to. It is a very patriotic and strong character and this is what attracted me towards it. I always wanted to play a role which challenged me and made me do some extra hard work and this role was definitely the right choice for me,” she says, adding that the show will not just highlight the warrior side of the queen but it aims to throw light on her role as a social reformist too.

“Not many people know that Rani Laxmibai was not just a warrior but a social reformist too. This show will focus on how she fought the internal politics of the kingdom and brought certain social reforms in the country and also protected the throne from the evil eyes of Janki and other people in the kingdom,” Sen adds.

Essaying the role of Janki, Anuja Sathe says: “I am glad that I have been offered this role. I always prefer playing strong and powerful roles. Janki is also a very strong and grey character. She is an independent woman who is politically active and she eyes the throne without letting anyone know about it.”

Sathe had to go through a lot of research to understand the character well.

“I had to do a lot of research to understand the depth of the character and to be able to justify it. I read some books and took help from the Internet as well. Though our creatives were very helpful throughout but I believe in doing my homework well,” she says.

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