When the trailer of The Empire first dropped online, many said that it looked like India’s attempt at Game of Thrones. After watching eight episodes of the Hotstar series, let me break it you, this isn’t Game of Thrones but it is a sincere attempt at exploring a new genre in the Indian OTT space.Based on Alex Rutherford’s Empire of the Moghul – Raiders of the North, The Empire begins with Babur as a 14-year-old boy who is still learning the ropes of being a royal. He is shown as a sensitive individual who believes in innate human goodness, but doesn’t shy away from slashing throats when his ‘badshaahat’ is in danger.The Empire Season 1 Download
The eight episodes chronicle different phases of Babur’s life but it takes a while to get into the right groove. Shaibani Khan, played by Dino Morea, is portrayed as the arch nemesis of the emperor who, at this point, doesn’t even have a kingdom, but all the arrogance that goes with it.Shaibani Khan is the kind of villain who addresses himself in third person, and has a God complex. The tussle between the two forms the crux of the plot for more than half the show so when their battle ends, you expect the series to follow suit. Instead, it goes on and creates new villains, which feels a little disingenuous. It is at this point that show turns into Babur’s life story, and not a Babur v/s Shaibani Khan chapter.The Empire excels in the aesthetic department. From the intricately crafted sets, to the beautifully designed costumes, the show leaves you in awe but what it gains in aesthetics, it loses out in VFX. In a show like this, visual effects are key which is why the jarring inconsistencies in CGI appear bothersome. There are places when you are pulled in by a massive battle setup, only to lose it with one badly executed bomb blast.There are few surprises in The Empire. For example, you know who will win when Babur is up against Ibrahim Lodi in the battlefield. And there isn’t much suspense about who will be Babur’s heir but the show, nevertheless, treats it like a story that we don’t already know.