The total cost of producing the epic TV series Mahabharata was ₹9 crore
Mahabharata is an epic Indian television series based on the ancient Sanskrit epic “Mahabharat”. The original series consisted of a total of ninety-four episodes and each episode is approximately 60 minutes. The epic series was produced by B. R. Chopra and directed by Ravi Chopra. The most memorable music was composed by Raj Kamal. The script was based on the original story by Vyasa and written by Pandit Narendra Sharma and the Hindi/Urdu poet Rahi Masoom Raza. The authentic costumes for the series were provided by Maganlal Dresswala.
With the anniversary of the famous serial on 2 October, here are some lesser-known facts B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharata that one should know.
Lesser Known Facts About B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharata
Mahabharata Fact #1] A total of 94 episodes of Mahabharata aired 32 years ago starting from 2 October 1988 on Doordarshan.
Mahabharata Fact #2] Chopra wanted a pole free place to shoot the epic war scene so the shooting was then shifted to a village near Jaipur.
Mahabharata Fact #3] The locals happily offered to act as soldiers, without any charge.
Mahabharata Fact #4] The total cost of producing the epic TV series was ₹9 crore.
Mahabharata Fact #5] Firoz Khan, who played the role of Arjun in Mahabharat, had a hard time bagging newer roles after the show’s conclusion. It was then suggested by Chopra and he changed his real name to Arjun.
Mahabharata Fact #6] Roopa Ganguly as we know her as Draupadi, was not the first choice. Draupadi’s role was first offered to Juhi Chawla, but destiny brought Roopa Ganguly as draupadi.
Mahabharata Fact #7] Nitish Bhardwaj’s smile made him Lord Krishna. Actors including Gajendra Chauhan (Yudhishthir) and Rishabh Shukla (Shantanu) were also considered for the role. But the role finally went to Nitish Bhardwaj for his convincing smile.
Mahabharata Fact #8] Do you know!!! A 250 m long sari was used for the Draupadi Cheerharan sequence. Eventually the saree worn by Roopa Ganguly was 6 meters long only. The actor actually cried after doing her role.
Mahabharata Fact #9] Amazingly Satish Bhatnagar and his team, studied all available books in different languages on Mahabharat for making such an epic series
Mahabharata Fact #10] BR Chopra’s team submitted the final story-line of Mahabharat TV series to Doordarshan in 1986 with breakdown of all 104 episodes which were later shortened to 94 episodes
Mahabharata Fact #11] Shakuni (Gufi Paintal) was the casting director for Mahabharat, and he took 8 months of video testing and checking Hindi diction to finalise different characters.
Mahabharata Fact #12] Almost all actors in Mahabharat TV series were newcomers except Raj Babbar ( King Bharat) and Debashree Roy (Satyawati).
Mahabharata Fact #13] Mukesh Khanna wanted to play the role of either Arjun or Karna so he denied the role of Duryodhana. He was also offered the role of Dronacharya and attended the muhurat as the sage. But later, BR Chopra asked him to dress as Bhishma and finalised him for the role
Mahabharata Fact #14] Bhima (Praveen Kumar), was a known Indian athlete. He has participated in the Olympics and won gold medals in Asian games. He joined AAP and in 2014 he switched to the BJP
Mahabharata Fact #15] Sameer Chitre and Sanjeev Chitre, who played twins Nakul and Sahadeva respectively, are brothers in real life as well.
Mahabharata Fact #16] Before Firoz Khan, Jackie Shroff was also considered for the role of Arjun.
Mahabharata Fact #17] Govinda and Chunky Pandey were considered for the role of Abhimanyu but Master Mayur got the role.
Mahabharata Fact #18] For the Maya Mahal sequence, Chroma technique was used to create illusions but to create the water-pool in which Duryadhana slips, the production team used thermocol powder to create the design. It took actually two days to make the design on still water.
Mahabharata Fact #19] 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.
Mahabharata Fact #20] 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.”
Mahabharata Fact #21] Rahi Masoom Raza 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, he had to struggle.
Mahabharata Fact #22] Initially Mahabharata and Ramayana were initially thought of airing on TV simultaneously. But it was later decided that the Ramayana would be aired first.