With the IMDB rating of 8.9 out of 10, Mahabharat is considered as one of the most popular TV series in India. It is the major reason that people got some sort of addiction to watching TV religiously.
Mahabharat Show is based on the book written by Ved Vyas, which is considered one of the holy books in India. The TV serial was directed by Ravi Chopra and produced by BR Chopra. The first episode of Mahabharat was aired on Doordarshan back in 1988, 32 years ago.
The show was aired in 94 episodes. It used to broadcast on Sunday morning prime time. Ramayan and Mahabharat created an addiction among people as streets used to be empty when the show started on Doordarshan.
Now we have thousands of shows and hundreds of OTT platforms. People have choices to choose what they want to watch. Thus, that kind of response from the public is pretty hard to imagine now.
As per the facts stated by The Guardian, Mahabharat TV series had attracted up to 5 million viewers on a Saturday afternoon on BBC2.
Keeping the holier than thou attitude, check out some interesting facts about the Mahabharat serial.
#1. A documentary was released titled Mahabharat ki Mahabharat where B.R. Chopra detailed his journey to make this show. A production team member named Kishore Malhotra said that the total cost of production was approx. 9 crore rupees.
#2. The ambitious BR Chopra wanted to have a strong narrator for the Mahabharat. He was considering approaching Dilip Kumar and NT Rama Rao. It was Dr. Rahi Masoom Reza who convinced him to have “Samay” as the narrator of the show.
#3. Little you know that the research team of Mahabharat TV series had gone through all available books in different languages to make is good for everyone. The research team was handled by Satish Bhatnagar.
#4. Dr. Rahi Masoom was very confident about writing Mahabharat because he knew that he can connect well with the past and present of India.
#5. The original storyline submitted by BR Chopra to Doordarshan was long enough with 104 episodes. It was later shortened to 94 episodes.
#6. The show was directed by Ravi Chopra and produced by his father BR Chopra. Dr. Reza said that Ravi has done a better job than his father.
#7. Mahabharat was the big show. There were 15,000 people applied to play character roles in Mahabharat. However, the casting team shortlisted and called about 1500 people for the video screen tests.
#8. Gufi Paintal played the role of Shakuni in the Mahabharat. Little you know that he was also the casting director of the show. It took him almost 8 months to test all the videos and checked Hindi diction to finalize different characters.
#9. It was the fact that most of the cast in Mahabharat was newcomer except Raj Babbar who played the role of King Bharat.
#10. The casting of Lord Krishna was tough, as it took 55 screen tests. Actor Gajendra Chouhan and Rishabh Shukla who played Yudhisthir and Shantanu were also considered for the role. Later, Nitish Bhardwaj was finalized for the role because Ravi Chopra thought Nitish’s smile was divine.
#11. Mukesh Khanna was offered the role of Duryodhana which he refused. He saw himself playing either Karna or Arjun. Later, he was offered the role of Dronacharya and also attended the muhurat shot as the sage. At last, BR Chopra asked him to get into the skin of Bhishma.
#12. Parveen Kumar who played Bhima in the show was an Indian athlete. He also participated in the Olympics and won medals. He saw the casting advertisement in a newspaper and did the audition.
#13. The on-screen twin brother Nakul and Sahadeva were played by Sameer Chitre and Sanjeev Chitre. Sameer and Sanjeev are twins in real life as well.
#14. The real name of Arjun was Firoz Khan but he changed his name after the popularity of the show.
#15. The role of Draupadi was offered to Juhi Chawla, Ramya Krishnan, and many other actresses. Later Roopa Ganguly was selected because of her correct Hindi diction.
#16. The Chroma technique was used to create the Maya Mahal sequence. The water-pool sequence in which Duryodhana slipped was created with thermocol powder on the still water. It took two days to create the design on the still water by the production team of the TV show.
#17. The Draupadi Vastraharan sequence was created by using the 250-meter long saree. However, Roopa Ganguly wore the saree that was just 6 meters long.