Days after director Kabir Khan called certain portrayals of Mughals in Hindi films ‘problematic and disturbing’, The Empire director Mitakshara Kumar has reacted to his remark. Calling Kabir Khan ‘an experienced person’, Mitakshara said that ‘there must be some weight behind’ what he has said.
In a new interview, Mitakshara also said that her understanding of Mughals in Indian cinema is based on ‘love stories’ such as Mughal-E-Azam and Jodhaa Akbar.
Speaking with PeepingMoon, The Empire director said, “See, everyone is entitled to have their own opinion. I have not read this interview, so I don’t know what he said. Kabir Khan is an experienced person and I have immense respect for him. If he is saying something, there must be some weight behind that. What I have seen of Mughals in Indian cinema is Mughal-E-Azam and Jodha Akbar. I think they are beautiful portrayals also because both are love stories. We are living in disturbing and difficult times.”
She added, “I feel we shouldn’t demonise anyone just on the basis of religion. There are far terrible things happening in the country right now. There are criminalities happening against women and children. Criminal activities should be demonised and I don’t know why we aren’t talking about that. Why do we bring religion into everything? I don’t pay much attention to religion when it comes to people’s actions.”
Last month, ahead of the release of The Empire, Kabir Khan had spoken to Bollywood Hungama about the depiction of Mughals in Hindi movies. He’d said, “I find it hugely problematic and disturbing, because what really makes me upset is that it’s being done just to go with the popular narrative…If you want to demonise the Mughals, please base it on some research and make us understand why; why they were the villains that you think they were. Because if you do some research and read history, it’s very tough to understand why they have to be villainised. I think they were the original nation-builders…
He had added, “It’s the easiest thing today, demonising the Mughals and various other Muslim rulers that India had at different points in its history. Trying to fit them into preconceived stereotypes, it is distressing. I cannot respect those films, unfortunately.”
Also Read | Ahead of The Empire, Kabir Khan says he’s ‘distressed’ by films that demonise Mughals: ‘They were nation-builders’
The Empire is an eight-episode show based on the novel Empire of the Moghul: Raiders from the North, by Alex Rutherford. It features Kunal Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Dino Morea, Drashti Dhami, among others. It released last month on Disney+ Hotstar. The series marks the directorial debut of Mitakshara Kumar.