Taj: Divided by Blood review: Delightfully Beautiful and Brutal

Taj: Divided by Blood review: Delightfully Beautiful and Brutal.


Taj: Divided by Blood review: Delightfully Beautiful and Brutal.

What: In the 2013 film Aurangzeb, late Rishi Kapoor had told a beautiful line about the ideology of the Mughals. “Badshahi Bhaichara nahi dekhti”, which essentially translates to Kingship sees no Kinship. In Taj : Divided by Blood, the 10-episode series created by Abhimanyu Singh on Mughal dynasty, the reign of Akbar and his successors, director observes this phenomenon with an excess of a power struggle, full of hazardous politics, beauty, ferocious loves, chilly treachery, and bloodshed.

Taj: Divided by Blood synopsis

Set in the 16th century, the story follows Jalaluddin, aka Akbar (the infinitely prolific Naseeruddin Shah) as an aging emperor who must choose the right successor from among his three sons – Salim (Aashim Gulati), Murad (Taaha Shah) and Daniyal (Shubham Kumar Mehra) to take over his dynasty while he is also challenged by his wayward rebel step-brother Mirza Hakim (Rahul Bose) and must bring him to task.

What ensues is a long drawn fraternal fracas between the three brothers who are as different as chalk and cheese – Salim, the sloshed lover boy who spends his whole day with cocktails and concubines, the messy and barbaric hot-headed Murad who is driven by violence and rage all the time, and the effeminate brother Daniyal who is least interested in the throne and inheritance.


Taj: Divided by Blood review

Taj is directed by a team of 4 – Ron Scalpello, Ajay Singh, Vibhu Puri and Prashant Singh who draw compelling performances from the ensemble of actors – Naseeruddin Shah looks judiciously frail and wrinkled and adds emotional heft to his part. He is surrounded by an eclectic female brigade comprising Zarina Wahab as Salima Sultan Begum, Sandhya Mridul as Joddha Bai , Padma Damodaran as Ruqaiya Sultan Begum and Shivani Tanksale (Bakht-un-Nissa Begum) and the dazzling Aditi Rao Hydari as the demure damsel in distress Anarkali who falls for Salim. Gulati approaches Salim with a calibrated performance, Taaha shines in the part of the manic Murad bringing out the ultimate savagery from his character. It would be incomplete without mentioning Dharmendra in the cameo of the saintly and prophetic Salim Chisti.

The writers Christopher Butera and William Brothwick infuse a lot of detailing into the tightly woven narrative with exquisite shots and set-pieces, gorgeous frames and splendid cinematography (Simon Temple), but the icing on the cake are the meticulously penned Urdu dialogues by Ajay Singh. I fell in love with the language all over again. Taj is buoyed by oodles of intrigue and bloodshed and sometimes the narrative becomes a slog with each episode running into 45 odd minutes.

But for the lovers of history, period films and aesthetics, Taj is a delicious delight that serves your appetite for beauty and brutality.

Final words

Produced by Contiloe Digital, the series is a revelatory tale about the inner workings and the succession drama that played out in the hallowed chambers of the Mughal empire. I go with 4 stars. Streaming on Zee5 from 3rd March 2023.

Pls note: The series is A certified fit for 18+ audience. Taj : Divided by Blood has profanity, blood, gore and same sex kising scene.  


Rating : 4/5

Director :
Streaming On :

About Ahwaan Padhee

Ahwaan Padhee

Ahwaan Padhee, is an IT Techie/Business Consultant by profession and a film critic/cinephile by passion, is also associated with Radio Playback as well, loves writing and conducting movie quizzes. More By Ahwaan Padhee

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