Duo’s company planning web series based on Timeri N Murari’s novel; Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti to develop two other shows
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 2, 2017)

Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani are on a roll. Like many B-town biggies, the duo has jumped on to the digital platform with a Rs 340-400 crore slate expected to make their production company one of the biggest players in the game with its exciting content.

Mirror has learnt that they have three mega shows in the pipeline. “They will be rolled out within a year’s time and showcased on different digital platforms. The flagship show which kicks off later this year is based on Timeri N. Murari’s novel, Taj: A Story Of Mughal India,” informs a source.

After the death of his beloved queen, Arjumand Banu, popularly known as Mumtaz-i-Mahal or the ‘Chosen One of the Palace’, a grief-stricken Shah Jahan decided to build her a memorial of love. Twenty thousand men toiled for 22 years to build the Taj Mahal, a marble mausoleum in Agra, which ranks amongst the seven wonders of the world.

The award-winning writer, filmmaker and playwright’s novel narrates a story of royal passion though the voices of Arjumand, Shah Jahan and Isa, the queen’s favourite eunuch.

The second story recounts the later years of Shah Jahan’s reign, the building of the Taj Mahal and the bloody pursuit of the fabled Peacock Throne by his sons. Murari recreates 17th century India, the palace culture, the backbreaking poverty of the artisans, interweaving the story of Murthi, the Hindu master craftsman sent as a gift to the emperor to carve the famous marble jali around Arjumand’s sarcophagus.

The 2013 novel also outlines the vicissitudes of Shah Jahan’s reign and the historical background of the conflict between men of different faiths. It has been translated into 25 languages and now is the subject of Excel Entertainment’s ambitious web series.

“It will be a lavishly-mounted project, running into multiple seasons, and helmed by an A-list director with big Bollywood names in the cast,” informs a source. “The other two are high concept shows developed by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti.”

Farhan and Ritesh’s spokesperson confirmed the news.