A mammoth set with intricate design, a stellar cast, high-end VFX technology and a vision to bring to viewers an engaging and entertaining retelling of the story of one of India's greatest emperors, - Colors' new offering "Chakravartin Samrat Ashok" promises to be a historical treat.
A walk into the show's set - created by the creative masterminds Nitin Desai and Omung Kumar - one of the most expensive offerings from the Colors stable, at N.D. Studios in Karjat, about 100 km away from the country's entertainment hub Mumbai, unravelled the efforts going behind putting together the show.
"A team of at least 500 people are working on this show," Abhimanyu Singh, CEO, Contiloe, that's producing the show, told IANS here.
The attempt on the channel's part is to delve into the pages of history to highlight Ashoka's journey to becoming the great emperor, heroic warrior and the epic legend that he was.
Stepping into the role of young Ashoka, an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, is 14-year-old Siddharth Nigam, whose ability to cartwheel, jump and perform stunts, has been seen in Bollywood film "Dhoom:3" and in TV show "Mahakumbh".
For "Mahakumbh", the young boy jumped off a bridge.
"Watch my new show and you'll know what all I've done to play Ashok," Siddharth, who underwent three months of training in horse riding and sword-fighting for the show, said here.
"Chakravartin...", slated to go on air Feb 2, is likely to pack in a punch on TV given its other talented cast members other than Siddharth. There's the versatile Manoj Joshi as Chanakya, towering Sameer Dharmadhikari as Bindusara, talented Pallavi Subhash as Ashoka's mother Dharma and "Haider" actor Sumit Kaul as Justin, all of whom gave a live glimpse of their roles at the show's grand launch here Wednesday.
Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors, said that "Chakravartin..." is their biggest offering in 2015 and that they had been toying with the idea of adding a historical show to their platter since one and half years.
He is confident that the magnitude and quality of writing that has gone into the show, will set apart "Chakravartin...", which will replace "Bigg Boss Halla Bol" in the one-hour slot every Monday to Friday.
Content-wise, the show will be not all facts and no fiction.
"History needs to be told in an interesting manner, so most historicals are dramatised. Our research team has worked hard to read various books abd anecdotes on Ashoka, and while we have dramatised the story, we have taken care to avoid distorting facts," Singh said.
He added that "Chakravartin..." will resonate with present day audience due to the sheer relevance of his ideas of democracy, freedom of speech and expression and the prevalence of the Ashoka chakra and emblem on every coin and note.
"It's the story of a creator, who was misintrepeted in many ways," he said.
As many as around 20 episodes of the show have already been shot across Jaisalmer, Kerala, Mumbai's Film City and the set here in Karjat.
What really helped the team to recreate the Mauryan era was visual effects.
"The VFX have helped us up the production values to a large extent and they complement the storytelling," said Singh, for whom "it is an honour to make a show on a man who made India".
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at email@example.com)