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Old Mahabharat Airs On Colors

Old Mahabharat Airs On Colors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY JAVED KANA

Back in the day, B.R Chopra’s Mahabharat had received an iconic status. Bringing back one of the most cherished mythological shows of Indian television is Colors and the entire star-cast of the show is extremely excited. Decades on, the cast of the show are still very well connected and are happy to reminisce good old days. In the last few months, you have interacted closely with the notorious coronavirus as an infectious

Gufi Paintal Shares Memories Of Playing Shakuni Mama

Mahabharat has again become massively popular, now that it is airing on Colors. What is it about the show that makes it such a hit?

I am quite happy that Mahabharat is back on Colors. I have also played a very interesting role as Vishwakarma in another wonderful serial on Colors called Karmaphal Daata Shani. I believe that mythological shows are a great way of getting some good life lessons and keeping yourself motivated during the lockdown.

Can you share your most special memory from the show?

When Mahabharata was airing in the late eighties, I used to get thousands of letters from the Mahabharat fans. A letter I remember was from a gentleman who threatened me! He said I should stop doing evil deeds or he would break my legs! The special thing about those days was the fact that people were so innocent back then and thought that I was Shakuni Mama in real! People loved to hate me because of my character. Also, to single out any one memory would be tough as there were just so many amazing memories of working with the cast. They all are memories of life.

Tell us something about your character, did the audience like your character back then?

Amrishji (Amrish Puri) is known for playing Mogambo. Amjad Bhai (Amjad Khan) is known for playing Gabbar Singh. In my case, it is Shakuni Mama’s role that I am remembered for. People love to hate me because of my character. Shakuni Mama was like the tadka of the show. We all know ‘Saadi dal khaa kar maza nahi aata’ – we all need some tadka to it. Also, characters like Shakuni are so well woven into the story that they become an integral part. Without them, the story does not move!

Tell us about how you were cast in the show. Did you feel that this show would go on to be such a massive hit?

I was the auditioning director, so I conducted auditions for almost all the characters. As far as my casting was concerned, I had played Lord Metclaff in a serial just before Mahabharat called Bahadur Shah Zafar.  In it, Ashok Kumar played the leading role and I was the only antagonist. Taking a lead from there, I was casted to play as Shakuni. I feel very honoured and happy that I got to play a role that gave me space to show my talent as an actor. While I did not have the idea that it was going to be such a massive hit, I also know that this show will always be special to me because of all the amazing people working on the show especially BR Chopra.

 

Varsha Usgaonkar aka Uttara Takes A Trip Down Memory Lane

Mahabharat has again become massively popular, now that it is airing on Colors. What is it about the show that makes it such a hit?

Till date, Mahabharat remains to be an extremely successful show and is a big hit on Indian television. According to me, the USP of the show is its simplicity. The makers stuck to the script and did not divert from the original material. Mahabharat is also about conspiracy, morals, and principles. Ravi Chopra ji presented the show in a very authentic way, because of which the show is a hit today even after 30 years. I would advise people to watch it because the show teaches you how to lead a good life, how to overcome obstacles, and how to remain strong. The shlokas used in the show have a deep meaning and one should practice chanting them at home for meditation and peace of mind.

Can you share your most special memory from the show?

My most special memory is with the great Gopi Krishna who was a fantastic dancer, and an amazing actor. He was my choreographer in Mahabharat and I was to learn classical dance from him. I was extremely nervous when I went to his home for rehearsals, but he made me very comfortable. He encouraged me by saying that I was a very good dancer and that he had complete faith in me. I was relieved when he said those words of encouragement. The ambiance in his studio motivated me and we completed rehearsals in merely three days. He was very considerate and an extremely kind person. He deserves special thanks for keeping my spirits up throughout my journey of Mahabharat.

Do you watch the show now? What do you feel about it today?

I rigorously follow the show on Colors daily from 7 pm to 9 pm, without any distractions. I feel so happy that it is being watched all over India. I love it when people appreciate my performance in the show. I would urge today’s generation to watch Mahabharat and see my character in the show as well.

Who did you bond with most on the set?

I shared a strong bond with Ravi Chopra ji who was the director of the show. He was very jovial and we all were like a family on the sets. I also bonded very well with Nitish Bhardwaj who played Krishna. We got along well as both of us were from the Marathi film industry. Since we had done three films together, we had a lot of common things to chat about. We also motivated each other a lot. Also, since most of my scenes were with the Pandavas, I got along well with Feroz ji, Puneet ji and Rupa ji.

 

I Remember Getting Bagsful Of Fan Mail When I Played Young Balram In Mahabharat Days Chetan Hansraj

Chetan Hansraj who played the young Balram, who was a child actor back then recalls receiving a ton of fan mail. He shares, “I was 14-years-old when I played Balram in Mahabharat, and it was completely magical. All of us used to get lots of feedback and messages from fans via letters. I was in school and every day I used to receive gunny bags full of letters. Back then, there was a photograph-autograph system with fan mails. So, fans would mail me an empty envelope with a return stamp attached and had to sign the picture and send it back with the letter. It was my daily routine. Before going to school, I would sign my pictures and put them in the envelopes. Every morning my father would give me a stack of envelopes with pictures to sign. It was a wonderful time and I have so many memories attached to the show and I am glad I am getting the opportunity to relive it on Colors.”

I didn’t know we were going to make history with Mahabharat says Sumeet Raghvan

Sumeet played the character of Krishna’s friend, Sudama on the show. While he was just 16 years old back then, the actor shares that he had no inkling that the show will create history. He shares, “I was very young when I bagged the role, and as excited as any new kid on the block. I was quite skinny at the time, probably that’s why I got the role! (laughs). We had barely shot for three to four days and I remember shooting the Sandipani Ashram portions in Film City and the rain dance sequence at Chena creek. Back then, I did not realise that I was going to be a part of history. But I do remember seeing Mukesh ji and Nitish ji on the set. They were in their prime then, and I was completely in awe of them. He also adds, “Once the episodes were aired again, there was a flurry of questions on my social media. People were taking screenshots of the episode tagging me, asking, ‘Is this you? We never knew you were a part of this epic show!’ I am happy that I got to work with such revered actors and be a part of a classic like Mahabharat.”

Courtesy Colors TV PR=

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