Doing any historical show has its own set of challenges: Abhimanyu Singh

‘Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat’ recently took a 10-year time leap and introduced the adult Ashoka. Produced by Contiloe Pictures, the show on Colors has been garnering a fair share of eyeballs and the story of the child Ashoka has captivated viewers since the show’s launch. Mohit Raina (of ‘Devon Ke Dev – Mahadev’ fame) is essaying the role of adult Ashoka.

Following the time leap, the upcoming episodes will witness that Nirankush, the governor of Ujjaain who happens to be close associate of Sushim, is now almost sure that Chand is Ashoka and decides to capture him. Looking at the situation Dharma being the mother is worried about the entire situation and asks Ashoka to leave home. So, he heads towards Kumbh Mela, where Kaurwaki is also heading. At the mela Ashoka meets Pandit Shripad, which leaves him intrigued after listening to his thoughts. Kaurwaki, who is search of Ashoka is very anxious to find him. In the mean while, Ashoka takes a dip into the river and so is Kaurwaki.

In conversation with AdGully, Abhimanyu Singh, CEO, Contiloe Pictures, speaks about the show’s ratings, the plotline, what has kept the audiences hooked week after week and more.

What has been the average ratings of ‘Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat’ over the last six months?
The average ratings of the show has been between 2.5 and 3 and it has been doing quite well in the urban areas.

With this time leap, now how will the story progression take place?
Now Ashoka will become Chandashoka, where he will move to establish Dharma, so that the Ashoka Chakra is the chakra of dharma. He will take to the battlefield to destroy the traitors within and outside the palace and dole out justice. We will see Ashoka go through a whole journey in which he will face a lot of trials and tribulations and put to practice everything that he has learnt from Chanakya and go on to create the empire of Bharat.

What new elements can the viewers look forward to post this leap in time?
First will be the love story between Ashoka and Kaurvaki, which goes beyond a plain love story. It will be full of intrigue and a lot of palace politics. It is also a story of a lot of personal conflicts, establishing Dharma, getting justice for everyone, and doling out punishments to those on the wrong side. So you will see myriad of courtroom politics, family politics, external enemies, the Greeks, and then moving to Kalinga – the whole battle and conflict of Kalinga. And then the transformation of Ashoka – from a fierce warrior to the ruler who gave up violence and created the greatest empire with peace and harmony.

With this new track, can we expect a finite number of episodes?
Everything obviously depends on the success of the show. ‘Ashoka’ has been a successful show and it has now entered a very important and interesting phase in the story plot. So there is a lot of story left for us to reveal to our viewers and keep them hooked on to the show.

Was Mohit Raina your first choice for the role of adult Ashoka?
Mohit has always been our first choice. In any casting process, people do consider many names, but for me personally, he was my first choice.

What about the marketing strategy to promote this new turn in the show?
Colors handles the marketing.

Will there be any huge reveals going forward or maha-episodes?
We haven’t planned any such developments in the immediate future.

What kind of challenges does a historical show throw up for the director, the producer and the scriptwriter? How does one maintain a balance between researched facts and folklore?
Doing any historical show has its own set of challenges and every historical show that we have done so far – right from ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ to ‘Maharana Pratap’ and Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat’, each show posed different kinds of challenges. Obviously, there are certain facts that have to be highlighted. Then there is a certain amount of dramatisation that you need to do to make the show interesting. Hence, there needs to be a fine balance between the two. And more importantly, you need to be very clear as to why the story is being told, and the viewer needs to be clear about that as well. For instance, one of the reasons why we wanted to tell the story of Ashoka was because he was the creator of what we today know as the Indian union. There have been stories of people who have been great rulers, freedom fighters, leaders, but Ashoka created the biggest empire in ancient India and under his rule Bharat became a land of prosperity, a diverse diaspora of religions, art and culture, the establishment of Dharma.


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