Aditi Rao Hydari is appearing in two period dramas this year. First up, she will play Anarkali in the Zee5 series Taj-Divided By Blood next month. She is also part of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Heeramandi which will release on Netflix later this year. The actor spoke about being approached for the role of Anarkali in Taj-Divided and said she turned it down because, for her, Madhubala had already immortalised the role. (Also read: Taj-Divided by Blood trailer: Full of sex and scandal, this is a story about Mughals like you’ve never seen it before)
The Zee5 series, which premieres on March 3, features Naseeruddin Shah as Emperor Akbar, Sandhya Mridul as Queen Jodha Bai, Zarina Wahab as Queen Salima, Aashim Gulati as Prince Salim, Taha Shah as Prince Murad, Shubham Kumar Mehra as Prince Daniyal, Rahul Bose as Mirza Hakim and Dharmendra as Sheikh Salim Christi. The characters of Akbar, Salim, and Anarkali were played by Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, and Madhubala in K Asif’s classic Mugal-e-Azam (1960).
In an interview with Mid-Day, the actor shared how her first instinct was to turn down the part of Anarkali. She said, “When this role first came to me, I was like, ‘No chance! Madhubala is Anarkali.’ I said, ‘No, thank you’ to the makers. Ron [Scalpello] and [his team underlined] that they were not remaking the love story. In many ways, they were making a family drama. Also, the way they saw Anarkali was different. She doesn’t know she is going to be iconic many centuries later.”
She added, “At the time, she was just a woman held captive, wanting freedom. She fell in love with the prince, and that was her biggest boon as well as her biggest downfall. We look at her as a tragic heroine, but Anarkali was a fearless and spirited woman who stood by her love despite the punishment.”
Aditi was last seen in the Tamil film Hey Sinamika with Dulquer Salmaan and Kajal Aggarwal. The film was choreographer Brinda’s directorial debut. In Heeramandi, she will play a courtesan in 1940s India. The period drama has an ensemble cast that includes Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal, and Sanjeeda Sheikh.
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