Mahabharat serial facts introduce you to just not just another TV serial from India. But, the brainchild of BR Chopra, which halted everything when it aired between 1988 and 1990, has stood the test of time.
A Tv series based on the epic Hindu Mahabharat written by Ved Vyas, directed by Ravi Chopra is one of the most famous shows on Indian television history. Produced by BR Chopra, Mahabharat’s first episode was aired on Doordarshan 32 years ago, on 2nd October 1988. It consisted of 94 episodes and the final portion of the series aired on 24th June 1990.
It is profoundly rated 8.9/10 on IMDB. Mahabharat is a gold-standard in terms of popularity on Indian TV series. It hooked a generation that got addicted to watching it religiously on Sunday morning prime-time. During the broadcasting of Mahabharat, and earlier Ramayan, streets across the country used to be empty and people would leave or stop their work to watch the episode.
In today’s OTT platforms, this massive popularity is a far fetched dream. It broke all TRP records in India, it also became a superhit in the UK and other countries. According to the Guardian report, Mahabharat TV series attracted up to 5 million viewers in a Saturday afternoon on BBC2.
Here are some interesting facts about that famous Mahabharat TV series:
1. The location has poles everywhere, where do we shoot?
Well, it might seem a bit hard to comprehend, but the one thing that troubled the “Gods and warriors” of Mahabharat the most were… Electricity poles. Yes, Chopra initially wanted to shoot the epic war scene in Mumbai, but there wasn’t even a single open field without any electricity poles. The shooting was then shifted to a village near Jaipur.
2. Cast Locals offered to act as soldiers, without any charge is one of the most amazing Mahabharat serial fact!
Despite a huge star cast, there was always a need for more actors, considering the grand-scale of the war scenes. Courtesy the generosity of small-town Indians, the makers did not have to worry too much about it.
The locals happily offered to act as soldiers in the war sequences. And not just that, they did so without any charge.
3. ‘Cheer haran’ What went into making the iconic ‘cheer-haran’ scene?
With modern-day visual effects, showcasing a scene with seemingly endless supply of cloth like in the iconic Draupadi “cheer-haran” sequence is a cakewalk.
But wakey-wakey, we are talking about the 1980s here. Reportedly, Chopra contacted a cloth mill before shooting the said scene and ordered them to prepare hundreds of meters of cloth to be used for the heart-wrenching sequence.
4. Arjun Firoz Khan- Arjun in reel, Arjun in real
Firoz Khan, who played the role of Arjun in Mahabharat, was admittedly having a hard time bagging newer roles after the show’s conclusion.
It was then that he, upon the suggestion of Chopra, changed his real name to Arjun. “Chopra saab and Dr. Raza recommended that Arjun should be my new name. It went on to give me everything that I dreamed of,” he said is a astounding Mahabharat serial fact.
5. Draupadi Roopa Ganguly was not the first choice for Draupadi
Roopa Ganguly put such a spot-on performance as Draupadi that it is hard to imagine any other actress playing her with such charm.
But the fact is that Roopa was not the first choice for the role. Actually, Draupadi’s role was first offered to Juhi Chawla, who left it to star in the movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. The role then went to Roopa.
6. Krishna’s smile sealed the deal!
Reportedly, a total of 55 screen tests were conducted for the role of Krishna.
Actors including Gajendra Chauhan (who eventually played Yudhishthir) and Rishabh Shukla (who played Shantanu) were also considered for the role.
But the role finally went to Nitish Bhardwaj as director Ravi Chopra thought that his smile was best suited for someone portraying Krishna. And boy, he was right!