Episode #28 of Hindi TV Serial Bharat Ek Khoj is titled as Vijaynagar Empire, and as the name suggest it explores the time of one of the strongest empires in South India.
While the northern part of India was suffering from the political instability and invaders, the southern part was peaceful comparatively. Of course, there were internal conflicts between local rulers there, but, this comparatively stable situation lead empires to setup and cultural activities to blossom. The Vijayanagar empire is considered as one of the most noteworthy empires in Indian history due to various reasons. This episode tries to present the Vijayanagar empire explored by Late Pt. Nehru in his book “Discovery of India”.
While the northern Indian was quite an unrest, the southern part of India was blossoming with Vijayanagar as the largest and mighty empire in the 14th century. It thus attracted many Hindu refugees from north India. In addition, many travelers from the contemporary time have visited the kingdom and mentioned about the splendid city of Vijayanagar. Considering traveling account of Abdur Razzak, the traveler from Central Asia, Vijayanagar was the most splendid city he has visited ever.
His remarks were something like:
The city is such that eye has not seen nor ear heard of any palace resembling it upon the whole earth. There were arcades and magnificent galleries for the bazaars, and rising above them all was the palace of the king, surrounded by many rivulets and streams flowing through channels of cut stone, polished and…
Considering that East Asian travelers have explored the lesser area of the world, Pt. Nehru mentions that even, Domingo Paes, the Portuguese traveler also mentioned about the fantastic architecture of the city of Vijayanagar.
The episode also explores the historical incidents like Krishna Deva Raya occupying the throne after some palace intrigues upstaging the aspirant Achyuta Deva Raya in a dramatized manner. The way he is being friendly to the foreigners is explored pretty well. Krishna Deva Raya was a liberal and he allowed all of the Vijayanagar Citizens to follow the religion and way of living they preferred. He was also a feared king. He was brutal when it comes to breaking law and order. He spared no one including his personal aides and ministers if something wrong is found done by them.
We see him dictating rules of an ideal kingdom and the way a king should behave, based on his personal experiences, so it can be documented and serve as the guideline(s) to the future rulers.
Every good or bad thing comes to an end, without a doubt. And so does the empire of Vijayanagar. How it happened is mentioned in the episode. No one can deny the glorious days the citizens of Vijayanagar empire have witnessed and the name of Krishna Deva Raya is still taken with respect by those who know this segment of history.
While Krishna Deva Raya and Vijayanagar empire are historical icons for those who know the history of Southern India, many from the rest of the world may not be fully aware of it. And when talking about Bharat, it cannot be completed without exploring events and consequences happened in various segment of this great country. This episode thus falls in “must to watch” category, without a doubt.
Many viewers may not pay attention towards the fact that it was the time when foreigners were trading in India, but have slowly started creating business places, getting exclusive access to various important ports and establishing their business places and eventually forts in India. The roots of Portuguese rule in Goa (which remained even after 1947, till the final actions were taken again them by the government of India – that is Bharat) seems also establishing in the days of Krishna Deva Raya.
In terms of acting, Om Puri is really fantastic. It seems a piece of cake to eat for him to portray the role of Krishna Deva Raya, which he played in this episode. A majority of Indian viewers are already aware of the acting capabilities of Anjan Shrivastava who plays Appaji, a minister and confidante to Krishna Deva Raya. He is very convincing in his act. The two actors who play the foreigner roles are Richard Lane-Smith as Father Luiz and Fr. Tasso as Domingo Paes; both of them remain true to their work. K.K. Raghuvanshi is good in the role of an ambassador.
Though some of the incidents explored look theatrical and dramatic rather than realistic, overall the episode is a delight to watch.
The main essence of any media is the script it explores. Here, Shyam Benegal got a rock-solid backup in terms of the chapters from Discovery of India (a book by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru), the scriptwriter leaves no stone unturned in making it dramatic, convincing and suitable to its target audience. The dialogs are simple, small and impactful. The background music adds to the impact of scene(s) effectively. The weaving of folklore and history is done quite interestingly and effectively.
The makers have tried hard to remain as much authentic as possible in terms of wardrobes and sets. The fighting scenes are not as splendid and glorious as we explore in movies, but they are more realistic. We see that, when talking about history, a majority of makers try to explore it in glorious ways, and only a few remain realistic. In that terms, watching this episode is an experience one should not miss.
It also proves the fact that when talented people team together to make a quality product, the tight budget may not leave that much impact.
Definitely a worth watching episode. Nice performances and good execution never let you miss any technological marvel while watching it.
Did you watch this TV Serial? Are you going to buy it’s DVD Set? (It is available in two versions, economic edition and premium edition)? Do share your thoughts via comments below. And yes, if you like this article, don’t forget to share with your friends and loved ones on various social networks 🙂 And yes, watch out for next episode review for Bharat Ek Khoj.
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