x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Amitabh Bachchan’s TV show Yudh has mixed reviews

Yudh was in production for more than a year and each episode reportedly cost 30 million rupees, making it one of the most expensive drama series to be filmed in India.

Amitabh Bachchan in a scene from Yudh. Courtesy AB Corp
Amitabh Bachchan in a scene from Yudh. Courtesy AB Corp

On Monday night, Amitabh Bachchan made his much-awaited debut in his first television drama series with Yudh (War), in which he plays a businessman with a neuropsychological disorder.

Reactions to the pilot episode, the first of 20 in the mini­series, are mostly all praise for the 71-year-old star – Bachchan is, after all, one of Bollywood’s most beloved actors – but also include criticism of the “tedious” pace. The Hindustan Times in its review said the show is “slow, obscure and dull” but declared Bachchan to be “amazing as the enigmatic family man”. The second episode broadcast on Tuesday was better received for its quicker pace, but said the plodding narrative made for “dull viewing”.

While some critics have compared it with the award-winning television series Breaking Bad, Yudh seems to be inspired by Boss, a political series created in 2011 starring Kelsey Grammer as the mayor of Chicago, who is battling a degenerative neurological disorder. The series ran for one season before it was canned.

In Yudh, Bachchan plays Yudhishtir “Yudh” Sikarwar, a construction magnate who has the unenviable task of deciding which of his two children (one of them with his ex-wife) inherits his vast, hard-earned empire; fending off greedy politicians, bitter rivals and corrupt policemen; and dealing with the hallucinations that occur as a result of the disease that is slowly killing him.

Yudh was in production for more than a year and each episode reportedly cost 30 million rupees (Dh1.8m), making it one of the most expensive drama series to be filmed in India. It is directed by Ribhu Dasgupta and the filmmaker Anurag Kashyap is the creative ­director.

“For quite some time I wanted to work in a [TV] serial,” Bachchan said in an interview last month. “Television is a powerful medium. Commercially, the turnover of television is three times more than that of films. It means that more people watch TV than films. It is not about coming down to TV or going up to films. I think it is a healthy interchange of talent.”

The actor is already popular as the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), the Indian reality TV game show based on the United Kingdom’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The actor has hosted KBC since it premiered in 2000, except for one year when Shah Rukh Khan was brought on board. Season eight will get its premiere next month.

Yudh is broadcast from Monday to Thursday at 9pm (UAE) on Sony Entertainment Television

artslife@thenational.ae