The 1988 epic show Mahabharat produced and directed by late filmmaker BR Chopra and his son Ravi Chopra, was the most loved TV show back in the day. The show returned during the lockdown, first on Doordarshan and then on Colors.
Watching it every evening has become a routine not only for the Indian TV audience but also for the actors who worked on it.
Actor Varsha Usgaonkar, who played Uttara in Mahabharat, follows it daily and also wants today’s generation to watch it. She feels, “The show teaches you how to lead a good life, how to overcome obstacles, and how to remain strong. The shlokas used in the show have a deep meaning and one should practice chanting them at home for meditation and peace of mind.”
In Usgaonkar’s view, what makes Mahabharat special even today is its simplicity. “The USP of the show is its simplicity. The makers stuck to the script and did not divert from the original material. Mahabharat is also about conspiracy, morals and principles. Ravi Chopra ji presented the show in a very authentic way, because of which the show is a hit today even after 30 years,” she said.
The epic TV show had a team of great talents working on it. Renowned Urdu poet Rahi Masoom Raza wrote the screenplay and popular music composer Raj Kamal worked on its music.
Varsha Usgaonkar took training in classical dance for Mahabharat. Recalling her experience, she shared, “Gopi Krishna, who was a fantastic dancer and an amazing actor, was my choreographer in Mahabharat. I was extremely nervous when I went to his home for rehearsals, but he made me very comfortable. The ambience in his studio motivated me, and we completed rehearsals in merely three days. He was very considerate and an extremely kind person. He kept my spirits up throughout my journey of Mahabharat.”
What further made Usgaonkar’s work easier was her strong bond with director Ravi Chopra and the rest of the cast. She said, “I shared a strong bond with Ravi Chopra ji. He was very jovial and we all were like a family on the sets. I also bonded well with Nitish Bhardwaj who played Krishna. We got along well as both of us were from the Marathi film industry. Since we had done three films together, we had a lot of common things to chat about. Also, since most of my scenes were with the Pandavas, I got along well with Arjun Firoz (Khan) ji, Puneet (Issar) ji and Roopa (Ganguly) ji.”
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