In the new Zee5 series, Taj–Divided by Blood, Naseeruddin Shah takes on the role of Emperor Akbar. The ageing monarch must decide which one of his three sons is to succeed him on the throne. He decides to choose a successor based on worthiness, rather than order of birth. (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 veteran actor spoke about the history of the Mughal empire ahead of the premiere of the show next month. He also shared how some rulers from the dynasty have been unfairly villainised in recent times. The Mughal empire’s contributions to India have been questioned and the discourse around the rulers tends to view them only as invaders and tyrants, ignoring any good things that they might have done.
In an interview with Indian Express, the actor said, “It amuses me, because it is so utterly ridiculous. I mean, people can’t tell the difference between Akbar and a murderous invader like Nader Shah or Babar’s great grandfather Taimur. These were people who came here to loot, the Mughals didn’t come here to loot. They came here to make this their home and that’s what they did. Who can deny their contribution?”
He went to say that while some Mughals have been exalted, it does not mean that we should go on to villainise them all. He added, “So what people are saying is to some extent true, that the Mughals have been glorified at the expense of our own indigenous traditions. Perhaps that’s true, [But] there is no need to villainize them either. If everything they did was horrible, then knock down the Taj Mahal, knock down the Red Fort, knock down Qutub Minar. Why do we consider the Red Fort sacred, it was built by a Mughal. We need not glorify them, but there is no need to vilify them either.
Taj – Divided by Blood also stars Aashim Gulati as Prince Salim, Taha Shah as Prince Murad, Shubham Kumar Mehra as Prince Daniyal, Aditi Rao Hydari as Anarkali, Sandhya Mridul as Queen Jodha Bai, and veteran actor Dharmendra as Sheikh Salim Christi. The Zee5 series will premiere on March 3.
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