A majority of the population in India has grown up watching BR Chopra’s Mahabharat. We all remember the high pitch voice of singer Mahendra Kapoor who sang the title track. His voice used to give me goose-bumps as a kid. Due to the lockdown and no new episodes of the current shows, Doordarshan decided to bring back its popular shows – Mahabharat and Ramayan.
These are tough times but a lot of Indians are glued to the TV screens watching these show and reminiscing their good old days. These shows play a big role in the lives of every 90s kids. Koimoi had a candid conversation with actor Gajendra Chauhan who played the role of Yudhishthir in this 1988 show.
When I called the veteran actor first, he was watching his own show. In my second call, I could sense how elated Chauhan was as one of his iconic shows is back on TV. So what are his thoughts on Mahabharat returning on TV? Chauhan said, “When the show came on TV for the first time, people used to just watch it. It used to come weekly. Now, 2 episodes are aired daily. Currently, people are watching it to learn something out of it. The show teaches a lot in terms of boundaries and India’s culture and tradition, the duties of the king and the citizens. It’s good that the show is aired during the time of lockdown. In the show, Vidur says a few lines to Yudhisthir that are relatable today. The lines are – Vann ki akhir kaun prachit rehta hai? Wahi prachit rehta hai jo ghar mein hota hai’. Even Mahabharat has given a message to people to stay at home.”
Gajendra Chauhan also shared how his show doesn’t focus on religion but talks about the duties of people. The actor stated, “The good thing about both Mahabharat and Ramayan are they have no mention of any religion. These show focus on a person’s duties. I think there should be a period in schools where they tell people about Mahabharat. A few years ago, I went to a school in Delhi and they had a lecture on Mahabharat where they would show 45 mins episode from the show. Every year, they used to have one test based on it. These are good steps taken to make sure our future generation is well aware of India’s culture. There are a lot of Indians staying abroad who make sure their kids know about Ramayan and Mahabharat through whatever medium is available to them.:
He praised the technical part of this 1988 show and how it is still winning the hearts of today’s generation. The actor stated, “When we had started shooting, computer technology wasn’t that advanced. But still, the chroma work is beautiful. I think, technically, Mahabharat was much ahead of Ramayan. In our show, the artists used to wear wigs made of real hair wherein Ramayan, the actors wore resin wig.”
Gajendra Chauhan said that to deal with today’s Coronavirus situation, people should also pray to God as that’s also imporant. Citing an example from his show, he said, “Mahabharat also gives us another important message during this time of dealing with Corona. If you remember in Deewar, Amitabh Bachchan’s character stands in front of Lord Shiva’s statue and says ‘Aaj Khush Toh Bohot Honge Tum’? Before this, there’s a solo shot where is sick mother tells him that where there’s no road of hope left in life, always walk towards the path of God. Similarly, in Mahabharat, Draupadi ke cheer haran ke samay saare veer-mahaveer aur yodha baithe hai. Usne sabse prarthana ki meri laaj bachao. Koi uski laaj bacha nahi aaya kyunki har vyakti apne maryada se bandha hua tha. Tab bhagwan Kishan ji aaye aur unhone uski laaj bachayi. Toh corona se humlog jo aaj peedit hai, mujhe lagta hai ke hum Prabhu ko bhi yaad karte rahe aur pratharna karte rahe iss musibat se hum deshvaasiyon ko bachaye.”