The Great Moghuls is a 1990 Channel 4 documentary series covering the dramatic story of the rise of the Moghul Empire (1526–1857) of India. Over six generations, from father to son, the Great Moghuls captured, consolidated and profoundly influenced control of the sub-continent of India. The six-part series was written and presented by Bamber Gascoigne based upon his 1971 book of the same name. It was produced and directed by Douglas Rae and filmed on location in India.

The Great Moghuls
Developed byEcosse Films
Presented byBamber Gascoigne
ComposersTim Souster
Shanti Sharma
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Executive producerNicholas Barton
ProducerDouglas Rae
Running time180 min. (Six 30 min. episodes)
Original release
NetworkChannel 4
Release2 February (1990-02-02) –
9 March 1990 (1990-03-09)

Description edit

The Great Moghuls is a six-part series of half-hour films devoted to the lives of the most important Mughal emperors, beginning with the founder of the dynasty, Babur (reigned 1526–1530) and ending with Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707). The second Mughal ruler, Humayun (r. 1530–1556), does not have his own film, but his successor Akbar (r. 1556–1605) gets two. The series' script was written by Bamber Gascoigne. Gascoigne based the series on his book The Great Moghuls (NY: Harper & Row, 1971).

Episodes edit

1. "Babur" edit

Through the Khyber Pass in 1526 came the founder of the great Moghul Empire, Babur. He rode around with a small band of followers seizing villages and cattle. By the time he came into India, he had built up a sizeable army and had firearms which helped him to win battles that enabled him to crown himself Emperor of India.

2. "Humayun" edit

In Akbar's great palace city at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra we discover how a Great Moghul lived. Also examined are Akbar's first contacts with Europeans and his obsession with religion.

3. "The Young Akbar" edit

When the second Emperor Humayun died suddenly, his thirteen-year-old son was crowned Emperor. He was called Akbar, meaning "Great". He would grow up to amply deserve the name, for he was the greatest of the Great Moghuls.

4. "Aurangzeb" edit

Aurangzeb murdered two brothers to inherit the throne and imprisoned his father. He greatly extended the Moghul Empire, but Sikh resistance to his attempts to impose Islam hastened his decline.

5. "Jahangir" edit

The stability of the previous reign continues, and Jahangir (r. 1605–1627) — more the aesthete and less the man of action than his father—is the right person to enjoy it. Meanwhile, drama is provided by the rivalries which surround the emperor, especially between his wife and son.

6. "Shah Jahan" edit

Shah Jahan (r. 1628–1658) was something of an enigma. After murdering several relatives to secure the throne for himself, he built the world's most famous monument to love, the Taj Mahal.

Availability edit

The series was made available on six VHS videocassettes or DVD (ca. 30 min. each; sd., col.; 1/2 in; Falls Church, VA : Landmark Media).

References edit