Film jadul Mahabharat is an Indian television series based on the Hindu epic of the same name. The 94-episode Hindi series originally ran from 2 October 1988 to 24 June 1990 on DD National. It was produced by B. R. Chopra and directed by his son Ravi Chopra. The music was composed by Rajkamal. The script was written by the Urdu poet Rahi Masoom Raza, based on the original story by Vyasa. Costumes for the series were provided by Maganlal Dresswala.
Each episode ran for approximately 45 minutes and began with a title song that consisted of lyrical content and two verses from the Bhagavad Gita. The title song was sung and the verses rendered by singer Mahendra Kapoor. The title song was followed by a narration by Indian voice artist Harish Bhimani of a personification of Time, detailing the current circumstances and highlighting the spiritual significance of the content of the episode.
It was shown in the United Kingdom by the BBC, where it achieved audience figures of 5 million. It was also the first programme broadcast on BBC2 after its 1991 revamp, It has also been shown on FBC TV in Fiji and Star Utsav.It also aired on Epic. The series was also dubbed in all major South Indian languages. Also, it was broadcast on Sony Entertainment Television from 2001 – 2003 and Star Utsav in 2006 – 2008.
Mahabharat Katha Part II – Story of Barbarik and Veer Babhruvahan was a spin-off series which contained portions and stories left out in Mahabharat.
According to production team member Kishore Malhotra, the total cost of producing the series was ₹9 crore (US$1.4 million). Firoz Khan was chosen to portray the character of Arjun (which he later adopted as his screen name) despite being rejected in auditions. Praveen Kumar was selected to portray Bheem after Chopra was looking for someone “who could look the robust mythological character”. Around six actors were shortlisted for the role of Draupadi, including Juhi Chawla, who opted out of the show as she had bagged a film. Ramya Krishnan and Roopa Ganguly were the final names, and at last Roopa Ganguly was chosen, as her Hindi was good. Govinda (actor) and Chunky Pandey were signed for the role of Abhimanyu, but they opted out when they bagged films. Later, Master Mayur played the role. Raj Babbar and Debashree Roy were the only two star actors of that time, who agreed to be parts of this venture.
It was shown in the United Kingdom by the BBC, where it achieved audience figures of 5 million. It was also the first programme broadcast on BBC2 after its 1991 revamp, but had also been shown late at night on BBC 1 the previous year. It has also been shown on FBC TV in Fiji and Star Utsav.It also aired on Epic. Dubbed versions were aired in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and also in Indonesia in the early 1990s on TPI (now MNCTV) and in the early 2000s on ANteve
Lavanya Mohan of The Hindu on her article “Retelling of Mahabharata on Television over the years” wrote “The version that left the maximum impact on me is BR Chopra’s. Yes, the sets were gaudy, the effects comical, and the acting got a little too dramatic at times, but the writing and the way the episodes were paced ensured that the series was ahead of its time.”
Source : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ugnjqZ6oVQ
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