Web Series: The Empire
The Empire Cast: Kunal Kapoor, Dino Morea, Shabana Azmi, Drashti Dhami, Imaad Shah, Rahul Dev, Aditya Seal
The Empire Director: Mitakshara Kumar
The Empire Creator: Nikkhil Advani
Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar
Indian web series have attempted more than a few historical epics of late, with MX Player's Ramyug and Chhatrasal, and ALT Balaji's Paurashpur immediately coming to mind. But before you could even get into the creative aspects of these shows, their production values put off most viewers. After all, we have moved on from the time of 80s Ramayan and Mahabharat and our content even on the small screen needs to reflect that, right? So, does Disney+ Hotstar's The Empire, starring
Kunal Kapoor, Dino Morea, Shabana Azmi, Drashti Dhami, Imaad Shah, Rahul Dev and Aditya Seal right those past wrongs. Well, to quite an admirable extent it does while also charting a reasonably engaging story along the way. So, are you excited about what to watch this weekend or what to watch this week and wondering whether The Empire is worth your time? Scroll down for my full The Empire review...
What's it about
Disney Plus Hotstar's The Empire traces the course of Babur (Kunal Kapoor)'s ascendancy to power from his early days as a teenage Baadhsah and forgoing his kingdoms in the Fergana Valley to capturing back his birthright and eventually landing on the Indian frontier to conquer it.
Watch the The Empire trailer below: VIDEO
As mentioned before, the VFX, camerawork, set designing, costumes, action choreography, set up and execution of the war sequences are all notches higher than similar web series on Indian OTT platforms that preceded it. The show screams richness in every frame and the way the plot is narrated keeps you attentive with its intrigue. Coming to the performances, Drashti Dhami, Imaad Shah, Rahul Dev and Shabana Azmi are all on the money and Dino Morea proves that if you act long enough, then you're bound to show some improvement after almost two decades.
Kunal Kapoor is the biggest drawback of The Empire as he proves to be as wooden as ever, completely unable to imbue the aura of a Mughal emperor. The editing is another major issue with several unnecessary scenes that could've been trimmed. Moreover, Mitakshara Kumar's direction lacks vitality in some key sequences, making you wonder who she got it right in other instances. Also, the script could've been more historically fleshed out, delving deeper into several pivotal aspects of Babur's life.
The Empire looks better than all period web series that have preceded it on Indian platforms, but could've been even better. Thankfully, almost all the actors are on point and shoulder the Nikkhil Advani show during some of its stumbling moments while also glossing over Kunal Kapoor being miscast as Babur. All in all, worthy of a one-time watch if you're not a bigot who can't digest the fact that the Mughals contributed a lot toward Indian history and culture and their tyrannical ways were nothing more that a product of conquering, barbaric time, which Indian kings preceding them also meted out to their fellow state rulers. I'm going with 3 out of 5 stars.
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