Epic dreamhttps://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/entertainment-others/epic-dream/

Epic dream

Producer Siddharth Kumar Tewary on his passion project—the Rs 100-crore,4 years in the making show — Mahabharat

We started work on Mahabharat around July 2009 and thought that with a pre-production plan of around six months we will start shooting it. But as I started reading the Mahabharat,I realised it’s not something that can be created so fast. We had to first understand the whole story,answer all the questions in our head and then have our own interpretation of what the epic is trying to convey. Every aspect from costume,jewellery,set design,to casting,action,vfx and music needed to be looked into separately

and yet had to come together seamlessly. Hence,six months became

four years.

Whenever anything doesn’t happen as per plan it has its own effects. We had taken a studio in Gujarat as the base location and made our sets there,but the rains destroyed our sets and we rebuilt them. Casting was a major area of concern. The epic has such legendary characters,we had to cast around 100 actors who could do justice to the role. We set a high standard — we went about looking for actors who could not just act well but who also had the right diction. After a point I realised it’s a tall ask. So we enrolled all our actors in diction classes so that they could

start living and talking like their characters.

For a show like this,the core had to be the writing. We had to write keeping in mind that a generation has grown up in the last 25 years,that hasn’t seen the Mahabharat. What we realised is that every story has different sides and the beauty of storytelling is to justify a character’s action and graph without painting him black or white or a situation as right

or wrong.

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Our Mahabharat is an attempt to show the human side of every single character in the series,and re-interpret the old text without tampering with the sensibilities of the story. The strong point of our show is that we have deconstructed the story in such a way that it forces audiences of today to question their actions.

After reading the epic text of the Mahabharat,I learnt that history repeats itself as we don’t learn from it. In a way we are trying to make the series relevant to today’s viewers. We want them to see the deeper meaning behind every story,think and understand the reason behind what happened and relate it to their actions as every aspect of the Mahabharat story is relevant in today’s times.

For me,Mahabharat is the learning of a lifetime. In these four years,I have become a more enriched human being. It’s made me learn and unlearn so many lessons of life. The Mahabharat is an experience that changes you forever. This series wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Uday Shankar of Star Plus who believed in me and asked me to make the show larger than life and most importantly understood that a series like this will need so much time.

We finally started our shoot in March this year,after scouting for locations across the country. The visual spectacle was needed to transport viewers into a different world. We have shot in Kashmir,Jaisalmer,Jaipur,Jabalpur and Ahmedabad. The entire team at our production house,Swastik,has lived this dream for years together. We are waiting for the viewer’s reaction now. But at the same time,we know that the outcome is not in our hands. We all just believed in one line—Let’s make our lives worth remembering.