Prithvi Vallabh: First look of a magnum opus!

By HT

Mumbai, Sept. 4 -- Sony Entertainment Television will announce its new brand, Sony Entertainment Television Originals, tonight and will also unveil the first look of its upcoming show, Prithvi Vallabh. 
 
Starring Ashish Sharma and Sonarika Bhadoria, the show has been conceptualised and written by Anirudh Pathak, the founder of Writers Galaxy Studios. 
 
The first look of the show will air tonight after Kaun Banega Crorepati. In an exclusive conversation with HT Cafe, Danish Khan, EVP and Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television, and Anirudh, the creator of Prithvi Vallabh, talk about the show and Sony Entertainment Television Originals.
 
We got an exclusive sneak-peek of the show's promo. Is it a historical show or is it fictional?
 
Anirudh: This is the love story of Prithvi Vallabh, the paternal uncle of Raja Bhoj and reluctant king of Malwa in the 9th and 10th centuries. His philosophy of 'Live and let live', his love for art, music and literature, his fairness and his philosophy are relevant and universal. What is extremely compelling is his love story with princess Mrinal of the Chalukya Dynasty.
 
What is the scale, production design and the budget?
 
Anirudh: It is a limited series in which we will complete the story and screenplay, and then shoot. It is almost like movie production. We will see two worlds of ancient India: the southern kingdom of Meenalwati, and Malwa of Prithivi. While we can't talk numbers, it is an expensive show and Sony TV has supported me for creating this world without limiting the budget. The show will be an audio-visual delight.
 
How did the concept of Prithvi Vallabh come about?
 
Anirudh: It is the brainchild of Danish Khan. He approached me with a brief on this character called Prithvi Vallabh and I was quite fascinated. The beauty is that when most kings from that time were fighting wars and capturing others' states, this man was more concerned about the poetry, the culture and the well-being of his society. He was a brave, undefeated commander who hated wars. 
 
It has a Baahubali-esque feel to it. Is it safe to say that it is motivated by the blockbuster?
First look of Prithvi Vallabh
 
Anirudh: Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no other reference that the audience can have, because it is nothing like what they have experienced before. But for me, I have always wanted to showcase everything larger than life. So as a creator, I can say that my show has nothing to do with Baahubali.
 
Tell us about the casting - why Ashish Sharma and Sonarika Bhadoria? Are any other actors associated with the show?
 
Anirudh: Both Ashish and Sonarika are brilliant actors. I had auditioned others for the role, but after watching their auditions, I felt there can't be better actors than Ashish and Sonarika. They are committed and have been preparing for this role for past six months. The show also has other talented actors such as Seema Biswas, Jahangir Khan and Mukesh Rishi.
 
What kind of research went into making the show?
 
Anirudh: We researched the documents and poetry of Prithvi Vallabh, aka Vakpati Munja, but we have also tried to infuse some fictional elements.
 
Has the show been shot at picturesque locations?
 
Anirudh: Whether it is the production design or choreography, we are treating the project as a film. We shot some of the war sequences in Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, in the forts of Bikaner, Rajasthan, and now we are planning to go to Karnataka. This is the first war series of Indian television and therefore we are treating the whole story that way.
 
What makes this show stand out from the other historic shows on TV?
 
Anirudh: Whenever we do a period drama on television, we tend to choose a love story. Interestingly, we have managed to amalgamate various sides of his personality. That is what makes it stand out among all the ongoing period dramas on television today.
 
Today the channel is announcing Sony Entertainment Television Originals. Can you talk a little about it?
 
Danish: We have created the brand Sony Entertainment Television Originals, which will feature premium content for television with unheard of stories, unexplored subjects, and fantastic production values. It will be a finite series and the story will be finalised before the production begins. We will try to shoot a large portion of the show before we launch to drive production quality.
 
How did the concept of Prithvi Vallabh come about?
 
Danish: I came across the story while doing some reading on Raja Bhoj. It is a fascinating story and needed to be told. We thought only Anirudh and his talented team at Writer's Galaxy could do justice to this project. Tune-in to Sony Entertainment Television tonight for the first look for Prithvi Vallabh, immediately after Kaun Banega Crorepati.