Wednesday 15 December 2021

The December Story Song: Today's Guest Writer is...Juhi Ray

We're a little different today ...

Note from Helen
author Juhi Ray has treated us to a You Tube clip from the movie Jodha Akbar, but apologises because she could not find a version with English subtitles. It doesn't really matter - the visuals are wonderful! The song is apparently often played at Hindu weddings, it doesn't matter that I can't understand the words, I find myself la-la-ing and it certainly makes me feel that I want to get up and dance. Thank you Juhi for sharing this with us!

Juhi says: "For those who have Netflix, this movie with subtitles is available on there. The movie focuses on Akbar and his relationship with his first Hindu wife."

~ ~ ~ 

A sense of hope permeated Hindustan’s capital. The young Emperor’s declaration that anyone, irrespective of religion or caste, could rise to the highest level through merit in his kingdom was a breath of fresh air. The old bastions of power continued to oppose this new movement. They would not allow the demolition of centuries-old traditions; those labeled undeserving by birth should not become successful compared to those born with superior
blood, they argued.

Akbar wanted to tear down this edifice of prejudice and build a new Hindustan. When the court was in session, I discovered his greatest strength outside the battlefield—an inherent skill at recognizing talent. He knew how to mask his true opinion about people while astutely sizing them up. Yet he constantly challenged those he favored to prove their merit, lest their abilities rust. He made subtle jibes at the sanctimonious orthodox clique and their wealthy donors at court without overtly antagonizing them. He seemed to find their pompous answers to simple questions more annoying than enlightening.

This song is an ode to the most loved Moghul Emperor Akbar - who needs no introduction as he is the pride of India. The beautifully choreographed song is  not just a celebration of colour and merriment but the music also very subtly represents the power at the height of the Moghul empire under Akbar's reign.   

The music is composed entirely off instruments that might have been present in that era? No guitar, no piano/harmonium! Just a drum, some trumpets, and bells...

Song name : Azeem-O-Shaan Shahehshah
Composer : A.R.Rahman 
Singer : Mohammed Aslam; Bony Chakravarthy
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar 
Choreographer: Chinni prakash master. 
He won a national award for this choreography.

 " The noblest aim of the human intellect 
is the pursuit of truth"​ 
Padshah Akbar in The Final Puzzle

About the novel:
Set in 16th century Hindustan (the modern-day Indian subcontinent), Emperor Akbar discovers an incomplete astrological chart. It may hold a secret that could threaten his life and the Empire. He assigns the sensitive task of uncovering the chart's mystery to his brilliant adviser, Mahesh Das. This journey takes Mahesh to the heartland of Hindustan. Mahesh however, was not expecting to fall in love. He is torn between his heart and his loyalty. Why did Emperor Akbar bestow the title of Raja Birbal on Mahesh Das? His closeness to the Emperor and meteoric rise spark jealous enemies to target him.

Amid the backdrop of religious tensions in the Empire, Akbar moves forward to promote religious tolerance and root out corruption. Rebellions against Akbar and personal attacks against Raja Birbal become more common. After multiple attempts on Birbal's life, his enemies believe they are successful. In 1586, while battling the hilly tribes of the Northwest frontier, Raja Birbal is declared dead. But his body was never found. What really happened?

About the author

"My first attempt at writing was in grade school when I sent a story to a comic book series. It was about friendship. The piece was not accepted, but that didn't stop me. Every now and then, I would participate in poetry and short story writing competitions with modest success. And then in high school, a short story that I wrote during my English exam excited my teacher so much, that she published it in our school magazine​."

images via: Pixabay unless otherwise stated
Note: it is illegal to copy lyrics but there is no © for ideas!

our stories or excerpts to enjoy

1st Deborah Swift  an excerpt from Pleasing Mr Pepys
2nd Graham BrackThe Clock Struck One
3rd Cindy VallarRumble the Dragon
4th Barbara Gaskell DenvilThe Great Forest
5th Nicky GalliersTwo Stories
6th Annie Whiteheadexcerpt from To Be A Queen
7th Judith Arnopp - an excerpt from The Winchester Goose
8th Paul Marriner - First Love
9th Loretta LivingstoneLabour of Love
10th Marian L. Thorpeexcerpt from Empire’s Heir
11th J G Harlond - excerpt from A Turning Wind
12th Amy Maroney - excerpt from Island of Gold
13th Richard Tearle - excerpt from the North Finchley Writer's Group
14th Inge H BorgExcerpt from After the Cataclysm
15th Juhi Ray the movie Jodha Akbar
16th Clare FlynnExcerpt from The Green Ribbons 
17th Anna BelfrageA Light So Bright
18th Elizabeth St Johnexcerpt from Written in Their Stars
19th Nicky GalliersDuty
20th Erica LainĂ© La Belle Russe
21st Anna Belfrage  - Excerpt from A Rip In The Veil
22nd Kathryn Gauci - Excerpt from The Poseidon Network
23rd Cryssa Bazos - Excerpt from Rebel's Knot
24th Debbie YoungThe Secret Ministry Of Frost

* * * 
you might also enjoy books by Helen Hollick
or direct to an Amazon near you

* King Arthur Trilogy
* the events that led to the Battle Of Hastings 1066
(includes US The Forever Queen USA Today Bestseller)
* the Sea Witch Nautical adventure series
* Cosy Mysteries

* Pirates
* Smugglers


  1. An Epic clip! Fabulous - no, I didn't guess the song :D

    1. I must admit I'd like to see the movie now -but I can't manage subtitles because of my sight. Still this clip is very invigorating isn't it!

    2. Thank you, Judith! The sets are lavish. The movie is about Akbar's relationship with his first wife. The Final Puzzle is about Akbar's friendship with Birbal, and explores Birbal's life in detail. Our movies tend to focus on monarchs and less on the power players behind the throne. Birbal was perhaps the most influential of Akbar's inner circle.

  2. Oooh, I loved this. Half my extended family are Indian so I already own a sari, but how I'd love one of those gorgeous skirts.

    1. Thank you Helen and Loretta! The Indian state of Rajasthan is one of the most colorful states. It is hot in summer, but the costumes are gorgeous!

  3. I loved the book, The Final Puzzle, and this musical extract is wonderful. Thank you, Juhi Ray.


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