Porus: Setting higher standards for TV historicals
Porus, a new television show attempting to open an unexplored chapter of history on screen, has grand sets spread over 9 acres of land here, an army of people working day and night, and a story executed by some of the celebrated talents of the industry. The team is set to offer a visual treat to the audience.
The story of the show revolves around the journey of King Porus of the Paurava kingdom who fought against Alexander the Great in the Battle of the Hydaspes.
Director of photography Kabir Lal and art director Amit Sen took select media here on a tour of the sets to explore the world of Porus. The set is divided into five different kingdoms with separate colour palettes – Taxila Rashtra, Paurava Rashtra, Dasyu Rajya, Macedonia and Persia.
Sen told IANS: "The conceptualization of the whole set had started three years back. I sat together with 35 designers and brainstormed to create the world of Porus. The pre-production started a year ago, and we took around 7 months to construct the set.
"We played with the idea that the whole area WAS dug out of a mountain, so it is rounded in shape. So it has a cave shape, but at the same time, we have tried to capture the nuanced beauty of our ancient culture."
The art direction team made over 250 drafts of sketches before zeroing in on the final draft.
"A lot of redesigning and resketching happened in the process because producer Siddharth Kumar Tewary was very focused from the beginning that we are going to achieve a grander set that the Indian television has never seen before."
Lighting the huge set and cinematography was another crucial part of creating the visuals. Sen worked closely with Lal of Taal fame for this.
"The involvement of cinematographer comes after the set is built, but for this set, our team worked closely with Kabir sir. He started giving his inputs and designed some lights even at the sketching level."
Lal said: "As a cinematographer, I always wanted to do something on a period drama because creating the world of something unseen, has a different challenge. Finally, when I got the opportunity for Porus, I was more than happy."
Around 7,000 tubelights have been set up to create daylight as shooting the entire show in daylight was just not possible for the crew.
The architecture of Paurava Rashtra is inspired by the Ajanta-Ellora cave art. Explaining the reason for using the colour blue and silver extensively, Sen said: "All the kingdoms, whether it is Macedonia, Dasyu Rajya, Paurava Rashtra, have their own colour scheme. The reason behind using blue colour in Paurava Rashtra is logical.
"That kingdom of ancient India is now located in Afghanistan, which is the main supplier of the Lapis lazuli stone. We have recreated the same, with the colour."
Apart from blue, the Dasyu Rajya, which is set in water, has shades of green and brown, keeping the essence of nature.
One part of the shooting even happened in Thailand.
The kingdom of Macedonia, for the character of Alexander the Great, is set in white, black and decorated with various pieces of Greek architecture.
A 'mandi' has also been created to showcase Persian traders dealing in business. The area has been decorated with not only goods for trading, but also some interesting sculptures that depict the Persian kingdom of Darius.
From each set with different colours to designing authentic jewellery and clothes that capture the different socio-cultural background of that era, the world of Porus appears to be such where imagination meets reality. However, the team did not reveal the budget.
Featuring Laksh Lalwani, Rohit Purohit, Rati Pandey, Aditya Redij, Praneet Bhat, Porus will be aired on Sony Entertainment Television tentatively in mid-November.