“I believe that mythological shows like Mahabharat are a great way of getting some good life lessons and keeping yourself motivated during the lockdown,” shared Gufi Paintal, who played the role of Shakuni in the iconic show. After raking in big numbers during its rerun on Doordarshan, Mahabharat is now being telecast on Colors.
Sharing his memories of the show, Gufi Paintal said, “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 in reality. People loved to hate me because of my character. 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.”
Stating that just like Amrish Puri is known for his character Mogambo and Amjad Khan as Gabbar, he too is remembered for his negative role. “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,” he shared with a smile.
Interestingly, Gufi Paintal was responsible for the auditions. The actor said, “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 cast to play Shakuni. I feel very honored 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.”
Mahabharat airs everyday at 7 pm on Colors.
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