Mahabharat: From Juhi Chawla being offered Draupadi’s role to Nitish Bharadwaj’s wish to play Abhimanyu, 10 facts about the show
The hit 80s show Mahabharat is back on the television screens after Doordarshan decided to rerun the show for viewers staying indoors amid 21-day coronavirus lockdown. Produced by BR Chopra and co-directed by his son Ravi Chopra, Mahabharat has returned to TV after a period of more than three decades. The show has become an instant hit among the audience, along with another mythological show Ramayan from the same era.
As an all new generation watches the show everyday along with those who are revisiting old memories, here are some interesting facts about the show.
1. Nitish Bharadwaj didn’t want to play Krishna
Nitish Bharadwaj thought he was not experienced enough to play the role of Lord Krishna. He dodged producer BR Chopra for several days to avoid appearing for a screen test.
2. Juhi Chawla was offered the role of Draupadi
Juhi Chawla was offered the role of Draupadi but the actor chose to star in Aamir Khan-starrer Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak instead. Roopa Ganguly finally got the role.
3. Nakul and Sahadev were brothers in real life.
Brothers Sameer Chitre and Sanjeev Chitre played two of the five Pandavas Nakul and Sahadev in Mahabharat.
4. Nitish Bharadwaj was first cast as Vidur but was soon replaced
Nitish Bharadwaj, who plays Krishna in Mahabharat, was first offered the role of Vidur. He was however replaced by Virendra Razdan and came to know about it only when he bumped into Virandra in the dressing room. Nitish was told he was too young to play an aged Vidur on the show.
5. Pankaj Dheer, who played Karna, was grievously injured during the war scene
Pankaj Dheer had a serious accident on the sets during one of the war scenes. His chariot broke down and the horses ran for their life. He was also hit by an arrow near his eyes and had to undergo a surgery.
6. Show script was written by Urdu poet-lyricist-dialogue writer Rahi Masoom Raza.
He died less than two years after the show concluded in 1990. His other famous works include scripts of films such as Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki and Disco Dancer. He had also written dialogues for Amol Palekar’s Gol Maal, Lamhe and Rekha and Jeetendra-starrer Judaai.
7. Nitish Bharadwaj wanted to play Abhimanyu
After being replaced by another actor for the role of Vidur, Nitish Bharadwaj was offered the role of Nakul and Sahadev but he turned it down as he wanted to play a more important role, like that of Abhimanyu.
8. The actor who played the character of Arjun had the same name in real life.
Actor Arjun’s real name was Firoz Khan. He played several other famous characters in films such as Rattan Singh in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Nahar Singh in Karan Arjun. He was also seen as the Sikh inspector in London in Yamla Pagla Deewana 2.
9. Mahabharat’s Bhishma became Shaktiman
Mukesh Khanna who played Bhishma went on to play one of India’s first superheroes, Shaktiman in the hit TV series with the same name.
10. Casting director cast himself as Shakuni
Mahabharat’s casting director Gufi Paintal went on to play the role of Shakuni on the show.
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