The Sword of Tipu Sultan

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The Sword of Tipu Sultan
The Sword of Tipu Sultan DVD cover.jpg
DVD cover of The Sword of Tipu Sultan
Created by Numero Uno International
Written by Bhagwan Gidwani
Directed by Sanjay Khan and Akbar Khan
Starring Sanjay Khan
Malvika Tiwari
Maya Alagh
Deepika Chikhalia
Anant Mahadevan
Mukesh Rishi
Shahbaz Khan
Composer(s) Naushad
Country of origin India
No. of episodes 60
Producer(s) Sanjay Khan
Location(s) Premiere Studio, Mysore
Cinematography Basheer Ali
Running time approximately 45 minutes
Original network DD National (1990-1991)
Original release 1990 – 1991

The Sword of Tipu Sultan is an Indian historical drama that was first broadcast on the DD National in 1990. Based on a novel by Bhagwan Gidwani, this drama was a portrayal of the life and times of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysore, the series was widely praised for its casting and grandeur.[1]

The drama faced many obstacles including a major fire that burnt down the Premier Studios, Mysore and claimed 62 lives.[2]


The television drama was produced by the company Numero Uno International which was owned by the movie producer and director Sanjay Khan.[3] Akbar Khan, the brother of Khan, directed the first 20 episodes of 18 months.[4] Music was composed by legendary Naushad and was photographed by Basheer Ali.The remaining episodes were directed by Sanjay Khan, and he also played the leading role of Tipu Sultan. A total of 52 episodes were shot, some of them in the Premier Studios in Mysore, Karnataka.

The drama was based on a novel of the same name, written by the Montreal-based author Bhagwan S Gidwani.[5] The novel was a best-seller, having sold about 200,000 copies, translated into many languages and reprinted in 44 editions. Apart from being the author, Gidwani also wrote the screenplay and script for the 60 episodes. The last few episodes were shot after the fire accident, a few years later. Other prominent actors who were chosen for this drama included Seema Kelkar, Anant Mahadevan, Mukesh Rishi, Shahbaz Khan and Deepika Chikhalia.


The drama was first telecast in Hindi on the Doordarshan channel in 1990. In 2001, it was also telecast on Star Plus.[6] The episodes were translated into Bengali and broadcast on BTV in the early 1990s and into Tamil and broadcast on the DD Podhigai channel in 2006.[7] In the BTV broadcast, certain portions of dialogue were censored. Outside the subcontinent, the drama was shown on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom during the early 1990s. Other countries included Iran, Indonesia and Mauritius. An original pack of 12 DVDs was later released.[8]

Later telecasts[edit]

A still from The Sword of Tipu Sultan with Sanjay Khan as Tipu Sultan (right)

The show is now being aired on Media One TV. Episodes were translated into Malayalam language.[9]


Petition against release[edit]

Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court of India against the telecast of this drama. The petitioners, Ravi Varma, et al., argued that it was not based on the real life and deeds of Tipu Sultan.[10] After hearing the arguments, the Supreme Court gave a judgment that the drama could be telecast but that a notice has to be displayed along with each episode stating: "No claim is made for the accuracy or authenticity of any episode being depicted in the serial. This serial is a fiction and has nothing to do either with the life or rule of Tipu Sultan. The serial is a dramatised presentation of Bhagwan Gidwani's novel."[11]


A major fire accident took place on 8 February 1990, in the Premier Studios of Mysore where the drama was being shot. Unavailability of firefighting equipment and ignorance of fire safety standards have been quoted as the major reasons.[12] Loose wiring and absence of ventilators were further causes for the fire to spread. Instead of fire-proofing material, the walls had gunny bags and the temperature rose to around 120°C (248°F) because of huge lights being used for the shooting. All these factors contributed to the massive fire; the final death toll was 62. Sanjay Khan himself suffered major burns and had to spend 13 months in hospital and undergo 72 surgeries. An ex-gratia amount of Rs. 5000 was paid to some of the victims.[13]


For his work on this drama, Sanjay Khan received the Gem of India Award.[14]


  1. ^ "Lessons From History". Indian Express. 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  2. ^ S N Deepak. "A doyen of film production". Online edition of The Deccan Herald, dated 2004-08-01. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  3. ^ "Numero Uno tie-up with Chandamama for TV series". Online edition of The Hindu Business Line, dated 2000-05-21. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  4. ^ "I wanted Ash as Mumtaz Mahal". Online Webpage of, dated 2003-02-18. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  5. ^ "Sindhis in Canada". Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  6. ^ "Brave Heart". Online edition of The Tribune, dated 2001-02-11. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  7. ^ Chitra Swaminathan. "The return of the Sultan". Online edition of The Hindu, dated 2006-05-20. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  8. ^ The Sword of Tipu Sultan
  9. ^
  10. ^ Madhavrao D. Pathak. "History of Legal Battle against the T.V. serial - The Sword of Tipu Sultan". Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  11. ^ A. G. Noorani. "Menace to free speech". Online edition of The Frontline, volume 22, issue 26, December 17–30, 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  12. ^ "Film studios are fire traps: Experts". Online edition of The Times of India, dated 2004-02-21. 2004-02-21. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  13. ^ "Written Answers to Questions". Online webpage of the Parliament of India. Retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  14. ^ "The Man behind". Online Webpage of Golden Palms Hotels and Spa. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 

External links[edit]