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The Empire: Rishabh Sawhney on his silver screen debut and working with Shabana Azmi

The model-turned-actor plays the role of Mughal King Babur’s brother Mehmood in the historical drama web series

Shilpa S
Aug 31, 2021
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Rishabh Sawhney’s on-screen debut was as stellar as they come with the hit Disney+Hotstar web series The Empire. From making his mark in theatre and as a model, the historical drama saw Sawhney share screen space with a few big Bollywood names such as Shabana Azmi, Kunal Kapoor, Dino Morea and Aditya Seal, leaving the newbie 'star-struck'.

In a conversation with Pinkvilla, the model-turned-actor talked in length about the experience of working with Azmi, calling her a very down to earth and humble person, who made sure that her co-stars were comfortable by constantly interacting with them while shooting. He recalls how he was nervous during his scene with her, even though he was able to do it when the camera started to roll. He looks back at the memory fondly, calling it special.

Regarding his preparation for the role, Sawhney says that he had put in a lot of work to train for physically intensive scenes in the series, which involved jumping and wall climbing. He calls the ordeal ‘fun’, despite it giving him blisters on his feet and hands. He also talked about how he read and watched a lot of historical content, including the book that the series is based on, called Empire of the Moghul by Alex Rutherford.

Sawhney also mentioned a few difficulties he had with the language, saying that although he is good at Hindi, he struggled with certain Urdu dialogues, which he overcame after putting in the work to learn the language.

The Empire, which follows the story of the Mughal empire from the reign of Babur, features Rishabh Sawhney don the role of Mehmood, the emperor’s brother who helps him take back the throne.

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