Raj Babbar's Serial on Maharaja Ranjit Singh to Debut on TV India Journal - South Asian News for Southern California After wait of five years, Bollywood actor-director and Congress MP Raj Babbar’s mega serial on great ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, is finally ready for its debut on the small screen. “I started this project in 2004-05, but I had to face financial constraints along the way. Before Doordarshan (DD), I had also approached some private channels, but they were somewhat hesitant thinking that it was going to cater to a niche market. However, later on, DD and my production reached an agreement on terms and conditions and now the serial will be aired from next week,” Babbar. “If the public response is encouraging enough, we will make more episodes of the serial,” he said, adding that he had got inspiration to make this serial while making a film on Shaheed Udham Singh. Babbar said that the series will cover in detail various aspects on the life and time of the Maharaja, also known as Sher-e-Punjab. Advice from noted Sikh scholars was also taken including from Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, he added. “The serial begins with the tormented period when Nadir Shah raided India in 1739...it will also cover the period from 1792, when the Maharaja’s father Maha Singh anointed him as the ruler. The Sher-e-Punjab died in 1839 ruling a vast kingdom that stretched from Sutlej to Kabul and from Ladakh to Sindh (vast stretches of undivided pre-partion Punjab; Kashmir and Afghanistan),” Babbar said. The 57-year-old actor would be playing the character when he attains the age of 35 in the series while two different actors would be playing his younger version of the great ruler. Asked what facet of the Sikh ruler’s life fascinated him the most, Babbar said, “He was a committed secularist, liberal, merciful, judicious, compassionate ruler, who succeeded in establishing a kingdom without any distinction of religion, caste, color and creed. His advisers and generals included people drawn from different religions including Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Christians”.� Babbar said that he had earlier wanted to make a film for international audiences after the great ruler and named it ‘Lord of the five Rivers—Maharaja Ranjit Singh’ but the project had to be shelved because the person with whom he had partnered had a change of thought.