Simulating regality

on the sets

Simulating regality

He was a heroic warrior, a legendary king and a strategist. But before all that, he was a son who fought for his mother’s rights after she was denied a place in her father’s kingdom. And this interesting life of Emperor Ashoka is being portrayed in the serial Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat, on Colors.

The show touches upon every critical aspect of Ashoka’s journey through an intricately structured script and some stunning visual effects. A massive set is in place at ND studio in Karjat (Maharashtra) to showcase the Magadha dynasty. The studio has previously hosted grand sets for Jodha Akbar (film), Jhansi Ki Rani and Rani Padmini (serials).

The set for the show is designed by Umang Kumar (director of Mary Kom) and is constructed by set designer Nitin Desai. About 300 hands have worked day and night for five months to take it to completion. Umang shares that “no computer graphics have been used to design the sets, and that the designs of pillars and domes are all handmade.” The set is spread over one-and-a-half acres inside the studio. Umang studied Indian and Greek architectural history to model it after. The makers claim that the set is more realistic, with an eye for detail, than the one used in the film Asoka.

Produced by Contiloe Productions, a house known for making historical dramas, the show has been shot at exotic locales across the country. According to the channel, the Mauryan era will be brought to life through the use of high-end visual effects technology for an engaging and entertaining viewing.

Explains Abhimanyu Singh, the maker of the show, “Ashoka is everywhere, in our history book, on the tricolour. I have produced shows on historical legends like Shivaji, Jhansi Ki Rani et al, but this king’s story is different. I had to do it.”

Interestingly, a year back, a leading production house tried to bag the production rights, but Contiloe beat them to it. Singh assures that this is how a production company works: the early bird gets the worm.

Kautilya’s Arthashastra is the central research material for the script among other literature. The man behind this initiative is Sreekant Sharma. The show’s director, Prasad Gavandi, has directed shows like Kahin Kisii Roz and Amanat in the last 15 years. He and Abhimanyu have had a chance to work together while creating Jhansi Ki Rani and Shivaji.

Talking about the challenges involved in blowing life to a historical drama, the director says, “Costumes, animals and jewellery — eveything needs detailed planning. It is a stressful job no doubt.” Commenting on Siddharth Nigam, the 13-year-old who plays junior Ashoka, Prasad says, “The moment I saw him, I knew he had to play our Ashoka. He has amazing energy on the set, and I know he will responsibly make the young king’s character a success.”

Apart from Siddharth, the show’s cast comprises of Sameer Dharmadhikari (King Bindusara), Manoj Desai, Pallavi Subhash (Ashoka’s mother) and Sumit Kaul (Justin, Ashoka’s step uncle). All of them are accomplished actors. In short, the team seems to be all ready to strike gold.

Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat has taken the slot of Bigg Boss, a popular reality show, and airs Monday to Friday at 9 pm, on Colors.

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