Producer-director-actor Sanjay Khan, who shot to fame on television with The Sword of Tipu Sultan, is ready to battle other historicals with 1857 Kranti, a 104-episode serial from June 2 on Doordarshan.
The serial is based on the sepoy mutiny and the tale of betrayal of the East India Company.
Sanjay Khan is upbeat. "India's first war of independence of 1857 is not more than three pages in any school textbook. What we are presenting is the drama and the sacrifices that people made for the nation so that nationalistic fervour is never lessened, but enhanced," he says.
Khan has shot 12 episodes till now in Rajasthan, Chambal, Trichur, Red Fort, Umargaon and Cochin at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore.
"We are proud to say this is the most expensive serial on Indian television, a TV serial on a cinematic scale," claims Hormuzda Davar, CEO of Khan's company Numero Uno International Limited. Bearing testimony is a crew of over 150 technicians, 80 artistes, 150 horses, 10 elephants, 50 camels and over 2000 sword fighters.
"The most curious question that not many answer today is how did the British, or English as they were called then, take over the country. Was it their strength or was it our weakness that defeated us? Our drama is very poignant, this much I can say," says Khan.
There are ''quite a few songs that don't stop the progression of the story. We have recorded three songs out of the 20 planned. Our other serial, Jai Hanuman, had 27 songs," Khan adds. 1857 Kranti will replace Jai Hanuman. It stars S M Zaheer, Maya Alagh, Tej Sapru, Raza Murad, Lalit Tewari, Bhupinder Singh, Barkha Madan and others.
The serial has been scripted by Sanjay Khan and Nawa Lucknowi and has music by Khayyam. Sanjay Khan's daughter Farah Khan is the creative director.
1857 Kranti on Saturdays, from 9.30 to 10.30 pm on Doordarshan