Creating Chandragupta Maurya's empire - in just 21 days

By Ruchika Kher (10:31)

Vadodara (Gujarat), April 27 (IANS) He was one of ancient India's greatest kings who ruled for over 20 years, but all it took to recreate Chandragupta Maurya's magnificent empire, replete with palaces and villages, was 21 days!This was done for the TV serial "Chandragupta Maurya" by set designers led by Varsha Jain.

"Varsha Jain and her team worked on this set and got it erected in a very short span of just 21 days," Nilanjana Purakhayasta, producer of the show, told IANS.

The set that gives the look and feel of 300 B.C. - when Chandragupta ruled from Magadh in present day Bihar - is spread over 10,000 sq ft in Sagar city in old Vadodara.

Designing was time-consuming as there were not sufficient structures or details available to take inspiration from.

The set basically draws inspiration from the army of elephants that the Magadh army was known for and King Dhananand's obsession with gold.

"The first challenge that we faced was research because there aren't too many references of that period. There are no monuments left really now. A lot of references that we found was of emperor Ashoka's time, which was actually much later and there was huge Buddhist influence in that.

"So, design took a lot of time. We took the inspiration from the army of elephants because the Magadh army was known for its elephants," said Purakhayasta.

"Then the biggest challenge was to execute it in a very short span. But Varsha's team managed to do that," she added.

The show, which comes on Imagine TV, is a period drama that depicts the life of Chandragupta and his exemplary courage, valour and magnificence. It dwells on how after meeting Chanakya, the scion of wisdom, he rises from being a commoner to one of the greatest kings of ancient India.

In the show that comes Friday and Saturday, Rushiraj Pawar plays young Chandragupta, Manish Wadhwa is seen as Chanakya and Suraj Thapar plays the evil king Dhananand.

Most producers are currently concentrating on reality shows and saas-bahu sagas. So weren't the makers of this serial sceptical about splurging on it?

"It's a gamble and you have to give your best. I need to believe that it will work and the rest is left with the audience. If I set out only with the thought that it won't work, then it will never," said the producer who feels the story is inspiring and people may connect with it.

"The investment is a lot, both in terms of human resources and money. But I can't reveal the actual amount.

"I feel in today's times, this show holds meaning because it's about someone who is a commoner and then goes on to be a king. It's a tale of inspiration," she added.

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