“What is found herein may also be found in other sources,
What is not found herein does not matter.”
Through these lines, Mahabharata defines itself succinctly. If epic was not already a word, it would have to be invented to describe this 100,000 stanzas long collection of Sanskrit verses compiled by Krishna Dwaiyapana Vyas around 3000 years ago. Mahabharata, among other things, has been called a tradition: It’s all encompassing. All the stories that could have taken place or that would take place in the world are found in these verses. Fairy tales and myths embellish beautifully the otherwise “very human” battle of Kurukshetra , that lives eternally in every Indian’s consciousness. Mahabharat has everything: There are jokes but there is also tragedy. There are lessons of codes of conduct, but there are also lessons of heartless politics and treachery. It’s a story vibrating with pulsating colors: There’s the green of envy and there’s the red of revenge. There’s the blue of ambition and the yellow of balance. It has the ability of coloring your life , irrespective of the era you live in.
The central story has a riveting plot and a compelling dramatic structure. The characters are complex with layers that give them an astounding amount of depth . The line between the good and the bad has been blurred on so many occasions that you begin to question if there is , in fact, such a line.
Turning the longest epic of the world with such complexities, into a TV show is a daring feat. Decades ago, B.R Chopra did with miraculous success: His Mahabharat set a benchmark that has not been crossed till date. Whether it was the echoing voice of “Samay” at the beginning of every episode or, the slanted smile of Nitish Bhardwaj as Krishna, everything from that epic show, left an eternal mark on viewers across India.
Starting Monday, StarPlus is coming up with the new age Mahabharata, produced at a scale like never before and touted to be the one of most extravagant mythological project on Indian TV. Several promos have been released and an intensive amount of promotion is being done to create a hype, that is bound to give this show a grand opening.
The promos have succeeded in creating quite an anticipation in viewers of all ages. The show, indeed, seems to be a visual treat. Eye-catching sets and sophisticated special effects lend the entire spectrum an ethereal quality and create a setting befitting of a saga as bewitching as Mahabharata.But getting the feel right is winning only half the battle. It remains to be seen whether the cast and the scripting, which seldom has anything to do with budgeting, however huge it may seem, are able to match up to the grandiose that has been created.
The Production House definitely seems to have gotten it right with the casting of Krishna. Saurabh Raj Jain, with his glinting eyes and the mysterious trademark smile, certainly seems to fit right into the image of Krishna in a common man’s head. On top of it, his experience of playing Vishnu and Krishna, in other successful productions prior to this, makes him a promising prospect
The promo featuring Draupadi is spectacular in presentation and content. The Red strikes out and the dialogues deliver the punch they are supposed to. However it remains to be seen, if the new actress, Pooja Sharma, is able to lend her image gradually to the character of the sultry Draupadi, who is probably one of the strongest woman character ever conceived in any literature. Whether Pooja’s eyes will be able to reflect the fire that burnt and ended a whole Yuga, is something all Mahabharat enthusiasts will be eager to see.
Shakuni seems pretty convincing in his “betrayed cum revengeful” act- his voice reminds me of the legendary Gufi Pental in Chopra’s Mahabharat. His performance as the cunning “Mamashree” who plotted against the Pandavas and stood out as one of the principal instigators of the Mahabharata battle, will be crucial to the series.
That brings us to Arjuna, a character which defines the entire epic on many levels. He is what we call, a reader’s peephole into the saga. That character in a story, which is closest to a viewer/reader, because he is their representation in many ways.
Shaheer Sheikh, the actor who will play Arjun, is a known face on Indian TV. Having gained quite some popularity playing the male lead in the popular series Navya, his biggest challenge will be to shed this “personality” and merge into Arjun’s . As of now, among viewers, there is an amount of skepticism regarding the possibility of him justifying and defining the iconic Arjun. But there’s no apprehension a brilliant performance cannot dispel , so here’s wishing him all the luck.
Everything in life can draw direct context from Mahabharat. It is , in the truest sense of the word, a timeless saga. What makes this simple battle between Dharma and Adharma contemporary, is the number of personal agendas the individuals pursue. The numerous personal conflicts, ethical dilemmas, subplots, and plot twists lend Mahabharat a richness unparalleled the world over, and Star Plus has done a good job of highlighting these points through the various promos and segments. Here’s wishing the entire team a grand success. Anticipation is high and it with a great amount of enthusiasm that we look forward to an interesting journey with the new age Sutradhar, the ever contemporary, sweetheart among Gods, Vasudev Krishna.
Watch this space for running reviews on Mahabharat and join us on discussions on twitter @dramasd
Photo Credit: Star Plus
- New ‘Mahabharat’ technically more superior: Costume designer (vancouverdesi.com)
- Shaheer Sheikh prepares for his role as Arjun (dnaindia.com)
- Mahabharat to be shot at Amber Fort (teamatul.wordpress.com)
- Mahabharat to be shot at Amber Fort (pr24x7network.wordpress.com)
13 thoughts on “Mahabharat on Star Plus : On the Watch Radar”
Nicely put. “It’s a story vibrating with pulsating colors: There’s the green of envy and there’s the red of revenge. There’s the blue of ambition and the yellow of balance. It has the ability of coloring your life , irrespective of the era you live in.”
The show has already sparked a lot of interest among audience.Now up for witnessing whether they will deliver as they promised
We will be watching it and dissecting it everyday 🙂 There’s nothing better than mytho coming up live on screen
🙂 8:30 slot is waiting to come alive with Saurabh Raj Jain ,the only thread that has made the tale more intriguing for me
I loved Mukesh Khanna as Bhishma Pitamah (in BR Chopra’s) too! U have done a great job yet again! Brought out the essence of the saga, its feel, importance! Start was lovely!
Want to see if Shaheer and Pooja will be able to do justice to their characters!
A wonderful piece, this is!
“Whether Pooja’s eyes will be able to reflect the fire that burnt and ended a whole Yuga!!”..
beautifully crafted and well-expressed..the anticipation is high and I sincerely hope that SRJ will not be the only reason that holds us on to the show after 16th sept..
P.S. im a big fan of your writing T..if you ever write a book, i’ll definitely buy it without even reading the title 😉
Now this is what I call an Epic Reviewing of India’s one of The Epic battles fought till date… The Words, the Playful anecdotes … yes we r moving on a Aaj Ka Mahabharat Age… All in All Kudos u all !! B.R Chopra Sir’s #MB n Now Aaj Ka #MB … gonna be Awesomly Epic.. NO TWO WORDS ON that.. Baki Rests 2 us .. The Intelligent Peoples :))
Seriously a tough task for the makers to show MB on TV again when the earlier one is still afresh in our minds! All I can say all the best to the makers.. I am gonna watch it for sure and discuss it with u people. But I agree I have to look this show through a fresh mindset as the actors in the old epic were perfect! Although will miss ‘Mai Samay hoon’ but I guess SRJ is gonna compensate to an extent for that! 😉
And for ur writing and use of words.. All I can say I loved it! 🙂
Yeah! Would have to leave the old one while watching the new one! It has created a niche! M longing to see if this one will be able to surpass the previous one!
Sab samay batayega!! 😀
The story of MB itself is very simple…but the complex characters make it riveting. @dramasd aptly chosen the 3 characters that were superhuman in their own right..lets hope we recreate mytho history…
very good article.. i cant wait for #MAHABHARAT now.. Its a perfect anaylisis.. Beautiful words weaved in garland..:) hats off to ur article tulika..
Finally we people are realising the potential culturally, or artistically that has been given to us as heritage by our ancestors. It’s time we show the world what we are made off.. Kudos to Starplus for making this Magnum opus and what better choice then Mahabharat..
I never saw BR Chopra’s Mahabharat on TV when it aired, as I was away at college – the only TV in the hostel was in the warden’s room, not a popular hangout. Caught up with it later though, on video. So don’t have the nostalgia of the weekly anticipation of how the older version unfolded etc. Hopefully that will be a plus when watching this version.
I wasn’t wowed by the casting – Krishna seems perfect, as we all agree, and Parashurama and Shakuni seem good from the promos. Whether the main characters fit into their roles will remain to be seen – they all seem very model-like without much acting heft, hopefully that’s not true. (Though Draupadi was never this fair – much was made of her dark skin…why choose such a fair-skinned girl to play her? Usual whitewashing?)
On another note, like this background for the page better, less distracting on the eyes!