The Empire Actor Rishabh Sawhney: ‘Working With Shabana Azmi Ma’am In My First Show Was Very Special’-EXCLUSIVE

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After having a successful career as a model and doing a lot of theatre, actor Rishabh Sawhney made his on-screen debut with the web series, The Empire. Directed by Nikkhil Advani, the historical show boasts of a stellar ensemble cast that includes Shabana Azmi, Kunal Kapoor, Drashti Dhami, Dino Morea, Aditya Seal, Sahher Bamba and Rahul Dev.


Rishabh plays Babur’s brother Mehmood in the show, who helps him reclaim the throne of a city called Samarkand. “He helps him because Mehmood’s love interest is held captive by her dad Abu Baksh in Samarkand,” says the debutante, who is seen sharing screen space with veteran actress Shabana Azmi in the show.


Speaking about the experience of working with her, Rishabh says, “Working with Shabana ma’am was very special. In my first ever show, I have a scene with her and that in itself fulfils a lot of check points in my list. I was nervous until the camera started rolling. But once we began shooting, the nervousness vanished. Shabana ma’am is very humble and down-to-earth. She would interact with us during the shoot and that made us feel very comfortable.”



The actor also opens up about his prep for the show. “There were a couple of wall-climbing and jumping scenes, for which I trained really hard. I would have blisters on my hands and feet post the training. But it was fun to do,” says Rishabh, who also trained in Urdu for this part.


“Since I’ve been doing theatre for a while and we speak Hindi at home, I am good with Hindi. But when it came to Urdu, I had to learn proper words and pronunciation because that didn’t come naturally to me. Since the time I got locked for the show, I started doing my research. I started learning Urdu and picking up words. A word that I had difficulty with was ‘takht’. It sounds easy but is hard to pronounce,” says Rishabh.



The actor referred to a lot of historical content to get accustomed to the life of the Mughals and to get an idea about his part. “I read historical stuff. I’m very fond of Game of Thrones. I’ve also seen a lot of Greek mythological shows. To prepare for this show, I watched Portugal Ghazi. It’s a brilliant show that really helped with my prep. I also read Empire of the Moghul by Alex Rutherford, on which the series is based. I also watched films like Jodha Akbar, Padmaavat and Bajirao Mastani that are based on Mughals in India, to understand the nuances,” he says.





Image source: Focus PR, SpotboyE archives, Instagram/azmishabana18/rishabhsawhneyyy/disneyplushotstarvip


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