Monday to Friday at 8:30 pm on Star Plus
Producer - Swastik Productions
The story so far -
The story starts with the romance of Hastinapur's Raja Shantanu (Sameer Dharmadhikari
) and Satyawati (Sayantani Ghosh
) and Bhishma taking the shapath to stay single so that Satyawati's sons get to be the next King. The story moves ahead after Shantanu's death and Bhishma as per the Rajmata Satyawati's order goes to find a bride for her son Vichitra Veerya. He barges into the Swayamvar ceremony of the three Kashi princesses - Amba, Ambika and Ambalika and asks their father to get them married to Vichitra Veerya. He has a confrontation with the prince Shaalva whom Amba has already chosen to be her groom and who disowns her as Bhishma injures him in the conquest.
Ambika and Ambalika chose to marry Vichitra Veerya but unfortunately he dies at the time of his anointment ceremony. Amba comes to the Hastinapur kingdom asking for justice and wants Bhishma to marry her but gets no help from anyone. As per Bhishma's suggestion she then goes in search of Bhishma's guru Parshuram as Bhishma tells her that only if his guru decides that he is at fault he will accept the punishment. Meanwhile, Ambika and Ambalika deliver a son each and so does a daasi through a process known as Niyog wherein a learned sage is called to produce a son if a husband dies without leaving a son. Amibika's son is born blind and Bhishma takes it upon himself to make him the greatest warrior the world has ever seen! Amba is seen in a boat waging the high tides all set to reach Hastinapur.
What works -
The opening of the show was good as the location selected was Kashmir, and not some nearby outdoor which is what is the norm for such shows. The pristine beauty of the valley with its greenery, the mountains and the flowing river added to the charm of the background as the actors in their historic characters enacted the scenes. The boulders, stones gave an interesting ancient look lending a grandeur to the scenes. The special effects added to the visualization as does the colorful background where Krishna is sitting and narrating the show.
It is noteworthy that till now they have taken known actors who can really act well. To carry off the heavy costumes and jewellery as well as mouth those difficult dialogues while carrying it off with poise is not an easy task. Sameer Dharmadhikari
as Shantanu looked a bit old but that is how he should be given the age he is being shown as, isn't it? Arav Choudhary
as Bhishmapitamaha has a strong voice and will continue to be seen for a long time. The petite Ratan Rajput
as Amba delivers a power packed performance but somewhere her body language comes across as someone who is trying very hard to be more vengeful and show it as such. Maybe it is because of her small frame. Saurabh Raaj Jain as Krishna is likeable but he needs to improve his diction a bit. His coming in as a narrator to give gyaan doesn't look like an interruption.
What doesn't work -
Sometimes you feel that the entire scenario is just too picture perfect and ultimately looks unrealistic. Mahabhrat is the story of human behavior and the action of the characters is just a reaction to the abrupt turn of events with one thing leading to another. However, this is overpowered by the drama that surrounds the series. The music with its Sanskrit shlokas is not soothing but a bit loud. We see big names associated with the show with the likes of Salim Khan giving guidance in the dialogue department, currently on the top music directors Ajay - Atul helming the music department while Oscar winner Bhanu Atahiya in charge of the costumes. Considering these heavy weights to be around, we expected something more rather than just extra ordinary.
Minute details need to be looked into - The crowns seem to be shivering with every nod of the head and Satyawati's (Sayantani Ghosh
) long, manicured pink nails were very obvious in close ups and mar the efforts of being authentic.
Our take -
This is not the first time that Mahabharat
is being telecast on Indian Television. There have been earlier attempts in the form of B. R. Chopra's Mahabharat
(which has become a benchmark for subsequent Mahabharat
s) on DD the sounds and music of which still lingers on, while there were no takers for Sanjay Khan
's Maha Kavya Mahabharat
on Zee TV
(it went highly unnoticed) and Ekta Kapoor
's Kahani Hamaaray Mahabharat
ki on 9X (which came to an abrupt end).
on Star Plus
has been in the making for three years and noted historians have been associated with the research so we hope that the makers will stick to historical facts. Each time this epic is remade the producers claim that there attempt is to introduce the story to the young generation who will want to watch it. This time maybe that is the reason that it is Krishna who is narrating the story as he relates to the younger generation however, it will have to be seen whether it becomes a crowd puller.
The fact that Star Plus
has decided to air it on a week day slot at prime time instead of the tried and tested Sunday morning slot is a big gamble which might just pay off since the small town viewers which may be a big number in this case, are at home at 8:30 pm ready to watch the classic.
Seema Khot Mattoo