Nitish Bharadwaj: ‘If there was a power cut during Mahabharat, people used to set transformers on fire’ - Hindustan Times

Nitish Bharadwaj: ‘If there was a power cut during Mahabharat, people used to set transformers on fire’

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRuchi Kaushal
Apr 08, 2020 05:01 PM IST

Nitish Bharadwaj recalls fond memories of the times when Mahabharat first went on air in 1988.

Nitish Bharadwaj saw the return of his TV show Mahabharat more than three decades after it spelled its magic on the entire nation. The actor, who played the central role of Lord Krishna, believes it will bring families together in the times of lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak. “It is an opportunity for the younger generation to learn from it,” he says.

Nitish Bharadwaj played Lord Krishna in Mahabharat.
Nitish Bharadwaj played Lord Krishna in Mahabharat.

The era of Mahabharat

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Ask him about the times when Mahabharat first aired on TV in 1988, Nitish recalls the days when TV was not a necessity but a luxury. Sharing a story told by an IAS officer who used to attend school in Marathwada, he says, “He told me about a man who had two TV sets in Marathwada. The black-and-white was free and one had to pay 5 paise to watch a program on the colour TV. He paid 5 paise per episode to watch Mahabharat.”

Nitish Bharadwaj as Krishna in Mahabharat.
Nitish Bharadwaj as Krishna in Mahabharat.

Talking about the craze for television in the 80s, he says, “If there was a power cut in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh in those days between 9-10 am, people used to set the transformer on fire. The electricity board ensured there was no power cut at the time of Mahabharat else they would have to bear the rage of the public.”

Nitish claims the situation was no different in Mumbai. “There were two TV sets in our entire building. Our living room used to get crowded and people used to sit even in the doorway and in the passage to watch colour TV. Ramayan and Mahabharat brought people together – there was family bonding, neighbourhood bonding and society bonding.”

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

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

Nitish on being worshipped by his fans

Nitish confesses he is revered even today for the character he played on screen with many touching his feet when they meet him. “There is so much belief in this country. If people can touch the feet of those who act in Ram Leela, then it’s no surprise for us as we reached out to the entire country through the show. My face emerged as the image of Lord Krishna. I very well know the respect I get is for Lord Krishna and not for me as a human being,” he says.

Also read: Mahabharat: From Juhi Chawla being offered Draupadi’s role to Nitish Bharadwaj’s wish to play Abhimanyu, 10 facts about the show

Nitish on meeting his Mahabharat co-stars

Nitish had met Roopa Ganguly, who played Draupadi in Mahabharat, during his visit to the Parliament. He had also watched Puneet Issar’s play and he came to watch Nitish’s play, Chakravyuh. “I am in touch with Ravi Chopra’s wife Renu Chopra as I think we must appreciate that God used us as tools to produce a monumental piece of creation called Mahabharat,” he concludes.

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