The online streaming platform Hotstar has landed itself in trouble with the release of the web show The Empire on Friday. Produced by Nikkhil Advani, the show has an impressive star cast including Shabana Azmi, Dino Morea, Drashti Dhami, Kunal Kapoor, Aditya Seal, Sahher Bambba, Rahul Dev and others.
Based on Alex Rutherford’s “Empire of the Moghul: Raiders from the North,” the epic period action drama traces the saga of an empire from the valley of Ferghana to Samarkhand and beyond. Fans started objecting to the series soon after its trailer popped on the internet, accusing the makers of glorifying the Islamic invader Babur. However, Hotstar rejected grievance complaints against the series ‘The Empire’ which led to the trend – ‘Uninstall Hotstar.’
The grievance officer appointed under Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 received complaints about the series but the officer rejected them claiming that the series is not glorifying Babur. Hotstar claimed that the web series does not make reference to the 2019 Supreme Court judgement in favour of Ram Lalla Virajman at the Ram Janmabhoomi temple where the disputed structure, often referred to as Babri Masjid, stood.
Reacting to the series, one Twitter user said, “Those invaders who destroyed and looted India, killed Hindus, converted them in the name of their intolerant Jihad are being glorified in 2021? Is this what we are doing? Shame on you producers, writers, actors, etc.” Another asked, “Hotstar rejects grievance complaints against their series on Babur, claims they are not glorifying the Islamic invader. I have uninstalled, Have you??”
“An assassination attempt on the king that further deepens the worries about the vulnerability of Ferghana. The young king must now take responsibility for an entire kingdom,” the official synopsis of the show read.
Talking about his character, Kunal Kapoor said it was intriguing for him to play an emperor in the series as the character has a lot of complexities. “We have heard many stories about Babur and the Mughals, but very little about who they were, where they came from and how they came into India. In this fictional take, this is a character with a lot of complexities, and that is what intrigued me as an actor,” he said.