Produced By: Writers Galaxy Productions
Cast: Shaheer Sheikh, Sonarika Bhadoria, Aroona Irani, Gurdeep Kohli, Shahbaz Khan, Piyush Sahdev, Shruti Ulfat, Tasneem Sheikh, Parvati Sehgal and Anand Garodia.
Colors and Prithvi Vallabh maker Anirudh Pathak are back with their re-creation of the epic and tragic love story of Salim and Anarkali. And actors Shaheer Sheikh and Sonarika Bhadoria have been roped in to play the titular roles.
The show's promos created the much needed buzz and the show launched on the 1st of this month. Here's what we feel about Dastaan-E-Mohabbat: Salim Anarkali.
Story So Far:
The first episode of the show begins with a small background of the Mughal Empire. The story then moves towards Faras, where Saifu (later Anarkali) and her family are into the business of selling ittar. However their happiness is short lived as their village is attacked and in the ensuing scuffle, Saifu's uncle is killed. Saifu, along with her Aunt escape their village and after riding on camel back for quite sometime, they reach Hindustan. In another scene, Prince Salim and his cousin brothers are introduced where the latter coax Salim into fighting with a wild tiger. However, Akbar comes to his son's rescue and he encourages him in defeating the animal. He is still ridiculed by his cousins and Salim storms out into the desert where he encounters Saifu and her Aunt. In the meantime, the invaders reach Saifu and Salim and are about to abduct them when Jodha rescues them all and takes them to their settlement.
Akbar and his entourage reach Kabul to offer their prayers at Humayun's tomb, where an attempt on Salim's life is made. However Saifu saves him and gets into the good graces of Akbar and Jodha, followed by the emperor rechristening Saifu as Anarkali. After rescuing the children, the entourage returns to the tomb when the peer baba predicts that to Akbar that Salim will not only fulfill all his dreams and wishes but also break his heart. He then goes on to predict that Anarkali will be the reckoning that the Mughal Empire will see for the very first time.
Akbar's other wife Rukaiyya is introduced and it is revealed to the audience that it was her who put a hit on Salim. The royal family reaches Agra where more troubles await Salim and Anarkali. Salim's grandmother hears of his friendship with Anarkali and instantly disapproves of the same. More situations lead to a confrontation, followed by Akbar's mother Mariyam Makani berating Jhillan and Anarkali and throwing them out of the palace. But Salim stops her from doing so. Rukaiyya makes another attempt to end Salim's life and sends him into the Bhool Bhulaiya, but he takes Anarkali along with him and she ends up saving his life again.
On realising that Anarkali is Salim's shield, Rukaiyya and her maids frame Jhillan in a theft and get Akbar to banish her and Anarkali. Simultaneously, Rukaiyya ropes in Salim's cousins into the ploy, where they drug and attempt to drown Salim. But Anarkali happens to see the boat and rescues the Prince. In the process, the idol that Jhillan was accused of stealing is also recovered and not only does Akbar apologise to Jhillan and Anarkali, but also grants the latter a wish. After being unsuccessful again, Rukaiyya instructs Salim's cousins to intoxicate him and this leads to Salim disrespecting Akbar's throne. Akbar then banishes Salim from the kingdom and heirship of the Mughal Empire.
What we liked:
Voiceovers are a key element in engaging your audience and the show's voiceovers keep us engaged and interested.
The VFX standards are pretty decent, of we have to compare this show's to others we've seen on the channel. But there are places where they stand out and are visibly patchy.
Actors Shahbaz Khan and Gurdeep Kohli deserve special mentions for their roles of Emperor Akbar and Queen Jodha respectively. They are fantastic.
Piyush Sahdev also plays the role of Abu Fazal to the point and we like seeing him in his historical get up. Tasneem Sheikh who essays Rukaiyya and Aruna Irani who plays Mariyam Makani also nail their characters.
A special mention to actor Anand Garodia for playing a transgender yet again in Dastaan... after Shakti. It's difficult to play such characters back to back and Anand plays it convincingly.
What we did not like:
While it was only logical that the show start with the background story of the young Salim and Anarkali, 5 episodes seemed too much of a drag for us. We wish we caught atleast an episode's glimpse of Shaheer and Sonarika.
Not to be too critical but none of the child actors are that impressive, considering the fact that the burden of the entire opening week was put on their shoulders.
Also, seems like the makers had a difficult time keeping up with the continuity of Rukaiyya's costumes. The lady is seen wearing the same costume over the week, with only one change.
All in all, the first week of the show did not really impress. We expected a lot more, considering the buzz and the scale of the show and the promos. However, given the fact of how the first week has gone by, we give the show the benefit of the doubt and would like to see how Dastaan-E-Mohabbat: Salim Anarkali fares after the main leads are introduced.
Ratings: ***(3 stars)