Ever since I watched Chandra Nandni’s promo in mid September, I had been waiting with bated breath for 10th October 2016 for the series to air. The series is produced by Ekta Kapoor and the characters of Chandragupta Maurya and Nandni are excellently portayed by Rajat Tokas and Shweta Basu. Unfortunately, outstanding actors and expensive sets are not a substitute for excellent content. Fortunately for me, I stopped watching the drama and discovered other series(not Indian of course!) to entertain myself but Chandra Nandni lost a dedicated viewer (if at all they care!).
Some of the reasons why Chandra Nandni’s plot has lost steam are:
1. Similarity with the Jodha Akbar series
Though the plot may/may not bear a striking resemblance with the real-life Chandra/Nandni, it is surely greatly inspired by another historical drama series- Jodha Akbar which was aired on Zee Entertainment Enterprises. This makes the plot insipid , monotonous and predictable. Some strikingly similar excerpts from the two serials are:
- The lead couple in both series get married due to political reasons
- There is great animosity (ghruna) between husband and wife from day one
- Jodha begum had raised her dagger on Emperor Akbar for self-defence on their first night and Nandni raised her sword to assassinate Chandra on their first night
- Akbar claimed that he had no heart and Chandra follows suit
- The chief queens Rukaiyya begum and Helena from Jodha Akbar and Chandra Nandni respectively endlessly scheme against the female protagonists and apply insult to injury wherever possible
- Salima begum, Akbar’s second chief queen and queen Durdhara, Emperor Chandragupta’s second wife constantly try to improve relations between the lead couple
- Mariam Makhani and Rajmata are very impressed by their respective daughters-in-law and consider them as their daughters
- Adham Khan, a close relative of Akbar plots to usurp the throne and so does Malayaketu, Chandragupta’s brother-in-law
- Akbar’s brother-in-law Sharifuddin lusts after Jodha begum and so does Chandra’s brother-in-law Malayaketu
- The emperors hate their ‘beloved’ queens and yet find excuses to spend most of their time with them
- Both of them command their ‘beloved’ queens to give them a bath before granting their request
- They feel a sense of accomplishment by humiliating their ‘beloved’ queens
2. Irrational character sketches of the lead actors
Character Sketch of Chandra:
- Chandra seldom keeps court hearings and when he does, the prime accused is Nandni and her family who are blamed for everything wrong that happens in the palace
- He is overinvolved in the affairs of his wives rather than the citizens of Magadha
- He disrobed Nandni to check whether she has any weapons on her
- Chandra tortures Nandni because his mother was tortured by Nanda, Nandni’s father who had imprisoned her
- He is very suspicious about Nandni’s actions and doubts that she has affairs with other men
- He always justifies his act of killing Nandni’s brothers to avenge his acharya, Chanakya’s insult in Nanda’s court
Character Sketch of Nandni:
- Nandni loves her father Nanda blindly and can go to any extent to please him. She flares up when people speak about the ruthlessness of Nanda, willingly agrees to marry her molester Malayaketu and assassinate Chandragupta- the Emperor of Magadha.
- She always admits to having committed a crime without any resistance when she is tried in Chandra’s court so that he sentences her to death as she feels that she is already dead after the death of her father at the hands of her husband.
- Nandni is portrayed as a warrior princess though she has never fought a single war.
3. Both the characters are very impulsive and easily influenced by others’ views.
4. Most of the episode’s air time is wasted in contemplating about the excerpts of the preceding episodes.
You can skip watching the series for a week and when you come back, you will still understand the plot without watching any of the episodes you missed.
5. Plots are highly predictable, muddled and have abrupt conclusions.
So if you have already watched Jodha Akbar, you can pretty well make a guess how Chandra and Nandni will end up falling in love(no brownie points here). If you are indeed fascinated by the Mauryan Empire ,there is a lot of literature available on the Internet which sheds light on the life and achievements of Chandragupta Maurya rather than watching this fictive series.