Let us continue our quest to review Hindi TV Serial Bharat Ek Khoj which is a magnum opus of Shyam Benegal. While you may find some of the stuff controversial but remember that the serial is a dramatized version of Discovery of India, a book penned by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
As the title suggests, this episode talks about the positives of Hindustan (which the foreigners found tongue twister and called India) which attracted foreigners from various countries. The list included the invaders, the knowledge seekers, the businessmen and others. Hind was the place where ready to use quality products were available at attractive rates.
Actually the Portuguese were the first one to come to Hind to do business. British or English people were nowhere on the radar those days. It was the time of Akbar when the Portuguese were enjoying special permissions given by the royal court. It was the time of Jahangir (Akbar’s son – Salim) when a representative of British empire was able to reach Hind and able to secure a license to do business with Hind.
This episode tries to explore that time and those incidents in quite dramatic manner.
A local businessman was very unhappy with the unfair treatment he has received from the Portuguese, who, in the name of business started expanding their wings of power. He got so furious that during one dark night he has killed the one who was responsible for that.
It was not a simple murder, as it may seem. It was actually the frustration of the local people against the foreigners. And, for the foreigners, it is a warning. They wanted to set an example by getting the businessman (who is on run now) to the justice; so in future no one dare doing such stuff.
The main story actually revolves around Diu (aka Div), Surat, Agra and Delhi with the references to Goa. It was the time when Portuguese were at their pick, and one of the representatives of British empire was hardly able to reach India. While Portuguese were ready to do everything in their power to prove their unquestionable authority on the sea and various ports, the local businessmen were busy settling up their trade and trying to earn as maximum as they can.
The entire case of the murder of a Portuguese lands to the cooperative society of businessmen in Surat. Actually, the murder was happened in Diu, so the council was not ready to interfere at first. However, their chairman and Sheriff of Surat, ShantiDas explained them the entire situation and especially the aspect, which can prove harmful to their business! The council agree to take steps!
On the other side, one of the remarkable bureaucrat in Jahangir’s court has decided to ditch Portuguese by going rebel against their authority on the sea and the ports. He decided to get his ship out without taking permission from Portuguese. The Portuguese warned the businessmen of the city through Shanti Das that the ship will going to be captured if done so. So the businessman decided not to load their goods on the ship. Shanti Das convinced the rebel to go by the book by referring that otherwise none of the businessmen will load their goods on the ship and he was forced to go empty and get captured!
Will he follow the advise of Shanti Das? Will the killer of the Portuguese officer be captured? What is Jahangir doing in this matter? What prince Khurram is up to? How will the business of the local tradesmen be affected by all these incidents? Will the British representative be able to get any favors from Jahangir? Will the sun of British rise and the influence of the Portuguese be on a declining stage? Well, you can explore the episode to know more.
This episode is really good in terms of content. It gives us the example of how shortsightedness can harm not only those who are directly involved, but a large segment of the society.
We see that the businessmen were busy earning their profits, commission agents were thinking nothing but their commission, the rulers thinking nothing but their own personal pleasure and ego; any wonder that the subcontinent will be captured by the invaders. We may hate to accept it but rather than the bravery or power of the foreigners, actually incompetency of the insiders was more responsible for the dark time India has faced under the rule of the British.
The scriptwriter had a fantastic central thought to explore, and he weaved a superb script around it. The way the importance of the ports and bazaars elaborated is simply amazing. The dialog writers made sure that the conversation reflect the local language and dialects. The wardrobe is quite authentic and so does the representation of various historical places. If you look at the set of the court of Jahangir, you will remember the famous painting in which Thomas Roe was present in the same. You can visit the external links given below to explore it.
In terms of acting Vijay Arora as Jehangir, Sudhir Kulkarni as Shanticlas, Charan Saluja as Tapidas, Siraj Khan as Hari Vaishya, Ashish Duggal as Qilij Khan, John Holyer as Thomas Roe, Jean Maneckjee as Admiral Saldana, and Mushtaq Khan as Asaf Khan does justice to their respective roles. And yes, Ajit Vachchhani makes his presence felt. This episode proves that when there are fantastic talents available and you have potential content to present, budget doesn’t make much difference.
The background music is quite in sync with the mood of the episode. The locales are quite interestingly explored.
Overall a fantastic episode which brings in some of the hard to digest, but, important to learn, lessons very effectively. One shouldn’t miss such a fantastic TV Serials.
Over To You:
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.
»Reviews for all the episodes of this TV Serial