After working at it for four years, producer Siddharth Kumar Tewary is all set to launch his grand TV show, Mahabharat, on September 16. Touted to be the most expensive project on Indian TV so far, the show has apparently been made on a budget of Rs 100 crore.
The daily series, which will have a six-month run, will feature expensive VFX, larger-than-life sets and elaborate costumes. The high production costs are also due to the outdoor shoots that the makers have done.
There are around 400 people in the production and creative teams besides another 200 in the graphics team of this show. The sets, designed by Omung Kumar, are spread across 10 acres in Umargaon. They have shot at exotic locations like Kashmir, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Bedaghat, Ahmedabad, Nepal and Sri Lanka too. The makers have also used extensive 3D conversion. Ask Tewary about the Rs 100 crore figure and he says, “The channel should be able to comment on the numbers. It might be the overall cost of the project. I’d say it’s a premium fiction series."
With a budget close to a big Bollywood film’s box-office collections, there are huge expectations from the series. Says Siddharth, “Every story has different sides; we have tried to tell it without painting characters black or white or calling situations right or wrong. Our show is an attempt to show the human side of every character, and re-interpret the old text without tampering with the sensibilities."
Ask Tewary about what makes his show stand out from the other takes on the Mahabharata — the hugely popular version by BR Chopra, and a failed attempt by Ekta Kapoor in the recent past — and he says, “We’ve deconstructed the story so that it forces the audiences to question the actions of the character, and make them see the deeper meaning."