Interesting Facts About BR Chopra Mahabharat Serial
The Interesting Facts About Mahabharat Serial, one of the most iconic TV serials in India, is being re-broadcasted on Doordarshan due to the 21-day lockdown. The episode of Mahabharata is being shown twice a day from March 28 at 12 noon and on DD Bharati at 7 pm. The TV serial Mahabharata is based on the Hindu epic Mahabharata written by Ved Vyas and directed by Ravi Chopra. The TV series was produced by BR Chopra.
FACT#1. The first episode of Mahabharata aired 32 years ago on 2 October 1988 on Doordarshan. A total of 94 episodes were aired.
FACT#2. Mahabharata is considered one of the most popular TV series in India with an IMDB rating of 8.9 out of 10.
FACT#3. The show is based on a book written by Ved Vyas, considered one of the sacred books in India. The TV serial was directed by Ravi Chopra and produced by BR Chopra.
FACT#4. Satish Bhatnagar and his team, doing research for the Mahabharata TV series, studied all the books available in different languages on the Mahabharata. The total cost of making the TV series was Rs 9 crore.
FACT#5. BR Chopra wanted a strong narrator for the Mahabharata. He considered that role to be played by veterans like Dilip Kumar and NT Rama Rao, but Dr. Rahi Masoom Raza convinced him for “Samay” or storyteller time when he said, “I am the time”.
FACT#6. BR Chopra’s team submitted the final storyline of the Mahabharata TV series on Doordarshan in 1986 with a breakdown of all 104 episodes. It was later shortened to 94 episodes.
FACT#7. The screenplay of the series was written by the famous Urdu poet Late Rahi Masoom Raza. He has also written screenplays for hit Bollywood films like “Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki”, “Mili” and “Lamhe”.
FACT#8. More than 15,000 people had shown interest to play various roles in the Mahabharata TV show. After screening, 1500 of them were shortlisted by the casting unit and called for a video screen test.
FACT#9. Gufi Paintal was the casting director of Mahabharata and also played the role of Shakuni. It took 8 months of video testing and a Hindi dictionary to test various characters.
FACT#10. Juhi Chawla was shortlisted for the role of Draupadi, but she later chose Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak Movie. Later Rupa Ganguly was chosen because of her correct Hindi narrating.
FACT#11. Shooting the battle scenes was the most difficult part for the actors of Mahabharata. He shot for scenes 40 km from Jaipur (Rajasthan) in June. In an interview with Pankaj Dheer, who played the role of Karna, “We had no vanity van or makeup room. We stayed in a tent. There was a toilet for 40 people. We do not have personal makeup men. We will wear a heavy metal dress which will be hot and very uncomfortable. ”
FACT#12. Shooting the battle scenes was the most difficult for the actors of Mahabharata. Pankaj Dheer had suffered extensive injuries during the shooting of the Kurukshetra war. When an arrow shot near his eye, he also had to undergo surgery.
FACT#13. Mukesh Khanna, who plays Bhishma Pitamah, was offered the role of Duryodhana. However, he refused to take up the role as he did not want to play a negative role. He also auditioned to play the roles of Arjun and Karna, but those parts were not found.
FACT#14. Govinda and Chunky Pandey were signed for the role of Abhimanyu, but then he got films and the role was given to Master Mayur.
FACT#15. Nitish Bhardwaj played the role of Krishna as Ravi Chopra felt that his smile suited someone for the role of Krishna. For the role of Krishna, 55 screen tests were conducted and actors including Gajendra Chauhan (who played Yudhishthira) and Rishabh Shukla (who played Shantanu) were also selected for the role.
FACT#16. Nitish Bhardwaj, who played the role of Shri Krishna, was appreciated by people in real life. There are instances where people have touched their feet thinking that they are Lord Krishna.
FACT17. Praveen Kumar, who played the role of Bhima in the serial, was a famous Indian athlete. He competed in the Olympics and won gold medals at the Asian Games.
FACT#18. Sameer Chitre and Sanjeev Chitre, who played Nakula and Sahadev respectively, are brothers in real life as well.
FACT#19. Jackie Shroff’s name was also considered before Firoz Khan got the role of Arjun but Firoz Khan got the role despite being rejected at the audition. Feroz Khan later adopted his screen name and is popularly known as Arjun.
FACT#20. For the Maya Mahal sequence, Chroma technology was used to create the scene and to make the water-pool in which Duryodhana slips, the production team used “Thermocol Powder” to create the design. It took them two days to make the design on the water.
FACT#21. A 250 m long sari was used for the Draupadi Vastraharan sequence. The saree worn by Roopa Ganguly was 6 meters long only.
FACT#22. Almost all the actors in the Mahabharata TV series were new. Only Raj Babbar who played the role of King Bharata and Debashree Roy played the role of Satyavati, the second wife of King Shantanu.
FACT#23. Dr. Rahi Masoom Raza who wrote the dialogues of this wonderful serial said that he had accepted the challenge of writing the Mahabharata because he was confident that he could connect India’s past with the present. Mahabharata died only after the shooting was over.
FACT#24. In an exclusive interview with E-Times TV, Mukesh Khanna revealed that Rahi Masoom Raza and I were very close friends and Raza Saheb often praised my performance. But I always told him that it was his writing and my joint effort that worked wonders onscreen. He used to say that whenever I used to write dialogues for Bhishma, my pen used to run on its own but when I used to write dialogues for someone else like Arjun, I had to struggle. Due to which I used to get long dialogues for Bhishma’s character, due to which Feroz Khan used to get worried. Once, he got upset and went to BR Chopra’s house and complained to me and said that why does Mukesh get such a long dialogue?
FACT#25. Mukesh Khanna revealed in an interview that Mahabharata and Ramayana were initially thought of airing on TV simultaneously. But it was later decided that the Ramayana would be aired first as it would not be a good idea to bring the two epics together. Audiences also would not like it much, so it was decided to broadcast Mahabharata later.