Nitish Bharadwaj as Krishna in a still from Mahabharat that aired for the first time in 1988.
Nitish Bharadwaj as Krishna in a still from Mahabharat that aired for the first time in 1988.

Mahabharat: Nitish Bharadwaj refused to play Krishna, dodged BR Chopra to avoid screen test

Nitish Bharadwaj opens up about being turned down for the role of Vidur in Mahabharat, his refusal to play Nakul and Sahdev and how he dodged the makers on being approached to play Krishna on the show.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Ruchi Kaushal
UPDATED ON APR 08, 2020 05:03 PM IST

Mahabharat is back on television screens and so is Nitish Bharadwaj as Krishna, almost three decades after he shot for the show. However, the actor has revealed he wasn’t confident of playing such an important character and dodged director BR Chopra for weeks to avoid giving the screen test.

Much before he was cast as Krishna, Nitish was offered the role of Vidur but the idea was dropped soon after. The actor came to know about the change in cast only when he bumped into the actor who was the final choice to play Vidur.

Sharing the entire incident, Nitish told Hindustan Times in an interview, “When I was first cast as Vidur, I was called to the Seth studios for the shooting. When I was in the makeup room, Virendra Razdan came up in costume and said he was playing Vidur. I said, ‘How can you play Vidur? They have called me for the shoot’. He said ‘look at me, I am even wearing the costume and going to give my shot’. I went inside to meet Ravi ji (Ravi Chopra), we had already done two ad films together and knew each other. He asked me to wait till he finished his lunch. He then told me, ‘You are hardly 23-24. After a few episodes, Vidur is going to be an old man. It won’t look appropriate’. After that, I was jobless as far as Mahabharata was concerned.”

Nitish Bharadwaj shares some interesting trivia about Mahabharat.
Nitish Bharadwaj shares some interesting trivia about Mahabharat.

Nitish again got an opportunity to be a part of Mahabharat when he was offered the role of Nakul and Sahdev but he turned it down as he wanted to play Abhimanyu instead. The actor, who was doing Marathi and Hindi films in those days, shared his conversation with BR Chopra. He said, “He was convincing me whole day to do Nakul and Sahdev. I was convincing him throughout the day that I don’t want to do Nakul and Sahdev because I knew Mahabharata story and wanted to do something better. Before pack-up, he asked me what I really wanted to do. I told him that I wanted to play Abhimanyu. He said ‘okay, we will think about it when the time comes’.”

 Watch: Nitish Bharadwaj explains Mahabharata’s relevance in present times

Days went by and again he was approached for a role in Mahabharat – this time for the lead character of Lord Krishna. Opening up about how he dodged the makers for several days, Nitish said, “I was shooting for my second Marathi feature film in Kolhapur. In those days, we used to go for outdoor shoots and would get messages only via landlines when we used to come back to the hotel. I was told to call back my mother who told me that Gufi Paintal had called up, saying they wanted to screen test you for Krishna. I told her to say no as I felt I couldn’t do it. She used her wisdom and told Gufi that I was shooting in Kolhapur and she would be able to inform me about his offer only when I return.”

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Nitish came back and was assisting Ravi Baswani on the show, Kisse Mia Biwi Ke. Actor Bhagyashree had featured in one of the episodes which was before the release of her debut film, Maine Pyar Kiya. Nitish had gone to PR TV for her dubbing session where he bumped into BR Chopra. “He got to know that I was there. He asked me ‘what is your problem, I am calling you for screen test, why are you avoiding?’ I told him ‘You need a more experienced person, how can you have a new person playing the mahanayak (Krishna)’. He said ‘you always wanted to play a good role, at least appear for the screen test’.” And that’s how he finally did the role which would bring him massive recognition across the country.

Author tweets @ruchik87

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