Amitabh Bachchan plays Ashwatthama in Kalki 2898 AD: What is the Mahabharata legend, the gem on his forehead? | Bollywood - Hindustan Times
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Amitabh Bachchan plays Ashwatthama in Kalki 2898 AD: What is the Mahabharata legend, the gem on his forehead?

Apr 22, 2024 11:32 AM IST

Internet has many questions about Ashwatthama and his legend after the latest Kalki 2898 AD teaser, featuring Amitabh Bachchan.

Amitabh Bachchan is all over the internet this morning after his digitally de-aged look from Kalki 2898 AD was revealed. The actor plays the immortal Ashwatthama, an important figure from Ved Vyas' Hindu epic Mahabharata, in the film. While the story of the film is loosely inspired from the epic and takes a sci-fi fantasy approach, Amitabh's character surely has more than a few connections to the legend. (Also read: Kalki 2898 AD: The internet can't get over Amitabh Bachchan's de-aged look as Ashwatthama)

(Left) Amitabh Bachchan imagines as Ashwatthama by an AI software; Amitabh Bachchan digitally de-aged as Ashwatthama in Kalki 2898 AD.
(Left) Amitabh Bachchan imagines as Ashwatthama by an AI software; Amitabh Bachchan digitally de-aged as Ashwatthama in Kalki 2898 AD.

The character teaser released on Sunday shows a young Amitabh as Ashwatthama, battered and bruised, with a shiny gemstone on his forehead. A child asks him, “Kya tum bhagwan ho, kya tum marr nahi sakte? Tum Bhagwan ho? Kaun ho Tum (Are you God? Why can’t you die? Who are you?)” He replies, "Dwapar yug se Dash avatar ki pratiksha kar raha hoon main, Dronacharya ka putra Ashwatthama (I have been waiting for the 10th incarnation since Dwapar Yug. I am the son of Dronacharya, Ashwatthama)."

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What is the legend of Ashwatthama?

While those who have read Mahabharata would be familiar with Ashwatthama's story, many would still need a refresher.

Ashwatthama is the son of Dronacharya, the revered teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas. Ashwatthama, endowed with divine qualities, fought for the Kauravas during the Kurukshetra War. Known for his bravery and combat skills, his story takes a dark turn towards the end of the war. After Dronacharya's death, driven by grief and rage, Ashwatthama broke the rules of warfare, leading to the killing of the Pandavas five sons while they slept. Seeking further revenge, he attempted to annihilate the Pandava lineage by launching a powerful weapon, the Brahmastra, at the unborn child of Abhimanyu, saved by Krishna. For his dishonourable conduct, Krishna cursed Ashwatthama with immortality, condemning him to wander the earth, serving as a constant reminder of his misdeeds and isolation.

What about the gem on Ashwatthama's head?

Ashwatthama was believed to be born with a gem (mani) on his forehead. This gem was said to make him powerful and invincible, granting him protection against hunger, thirst, and fatigue. It was also a source of his magical powers and played a crucial role in his identity as a warrior. Eventually, after the war, his gem was removed as a punishment for killing the Pandavas' sons, leaving a festering wound. It left him vulnerable and cursed with suffering and immortality.

The sci-fi film is helmed by Nag Ashwin, known for his directorial works such as Yevade Subramanyam and Mahanati. The film is touted to be a mythology-inspired sci-fi extravaganza set in the future.

Kamal Haasan, Prabhas, Deepika Padukone, and Disha Patani are also a part of the Kalki 2898 AD world.

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