Web series review: Beecham House -- History revisited

Gurinder Chadha, the maker of Bend it Like Beckham fame, launched a new webseries staged around the late 16th century of British India. The plot is premised around the times when India was thriving on the last shreds of glory in Mogul India, and the East India Company was gradually gaining foothold in the subcontinent.

The plot has ably imparted an evolutionary perspective. It’s about how some Brits have played a crucial role in delivering Indians to the freedom struggle. Thought-provoking narratives such as these have been shoved under the carpet, giving onlookers only a superficial view of the freedom struggle.

The Plot

Beecham House is premised around the story of John Beecham (played by Tom Bateman), who once worked for the East India Company. While being posted as a lieutenant, John Beecham had learnt of the company’s malicious ways of plundering India of all its wealth and resources.

The apathy was on the rise, and the savage ways of the company didn’t seem to cease. John Beecham couldn’t stand the ways of the company, and how it ruthlessly stripped people of their land and livelihood. This compelled him to part ways and start off on his own.

While travelling one day, the King of Kalyan (Denzil Smith) and his two beloved daughters are attacked by a set of thieves. Beecham fearlessly jumps in and saves their lives. He later marries princess Kamlavati, the King’s eldest daughter.

Baby August (also known as Agustya) is a gift of their union. In an unfortunate event, Kamlavati is murdered, leaving John as a widower, and baby August as the heir apparent to the throne of Kalyan. John Beecham moves to Delhi, in the hope of a new start.

He wills to acquire a trading licence from the Emperor, but is faced by several roadblocks. General Castillion (played by Gregory Fitoussi), who is the French mercenary at the Mughal court, poisons the emperor’s ears stating that John is a traitor, and plays a part in the company that is not set to take over the region of Kanuuj.

John is also asked to curate the most beautiful present for the Begum’s (played by Tisca Chopra) birthday. He can only acquire the licence if the Begum likes his present. John’s business partner Samuel (played by Marc Warren) has partnered with John but stabs him in the back as he slyly allies with General Castillion.

On understanding Samuels’s devious ways, Daniel Beecham (John’s brother, played by Leo Suter) and Margret Osborne, the English governess who John Beecham falls in love with (played by Dakota Blue Richards) go out of their way to save John, and prove his innocence to the Emperor. They get out of the difficult situation but something terrible happens…

End Note

The series is characterised around the magnificence and opulence of the British Raj. The characters shoulder one another well, rending meaning to the plot. Though delving into the historical aspect of the country hasn’t been Gurinder Chadha’s thing, so to speak, but it has been well delivered and even better received by audiences across.