OK, Ekta Kapoor
finally unleashed her version of the Mahabharat on 9X
last week and before we get to see the second's week's happenings, here we go analyzing the start of Kahaani Humaarey Mahaabhaarat Ki.
Unlike most of her serials, which get away showing rubbish, viewers won't take too kindly to any liberties taken with the much-loved epic. First things first, while she was bang on, in the first episode starting it off with the crucial Draupadi vastraharan – after all Ekta's penchant for drama is well known -- and she sure knows that it's that one episode in Mahabharat which is bound to attract eyeballs and give ample scope for theatrics – the actors fudged it up with their loud, screechy performances.Anita Hasanandani
as the sultry Draupadi (in flaming red Manish Malhotra
sari) looked sexy alright; all spit and fire, but somehow lacked the gravitas a Rupa Ganguly
had brought to the queen of the Pandavas two decades ago in B R Chopra
's Mahabharat. Anita screamed and screamed, doing no justice to her heavy-duty lines.
Worse, none of the Pandavas were given a chance to open their mouths because sadly except for the guy playing Yudhisthir
, the others seemed to be 'extras' filling in for the real actors. Cheat shooting, anyone? So all we saw was a well toned, glistening back of Bheema and Arjuna's bow, Bheeshma's clenched fists, and Drithrashtra's blinking eyes. Come on, the least she could have done was get the main cast in place and have them ready and kicking for the first episode.Aryan Vaid
as Duryodhana underplayed his wicked part (thankfully) while the actor paying Dusshasan went hammer and tongs as his kohled-eyes did a Kathakali dance. Yet, it was a fairly gripping episode with the foundation laid for some heavy duty drama.
Alas, the second, third and fourth episodes were a journey downhill. Sakshi Tanwar
as Ganga, despite her flowing Ganges look, couldn't rise above Parvati Agarwal, a character she's known for, for seven years now. Ditto, Kiran Karmarkar
as the insipid Shantanu. He looked tired against the breathtaking locales of Ladakh (that begs the question, why Ladakh?). Makarand Deshpande as Ved Vyasa hammed to the hilt and the actor playing Lord Ganesha looked despicable riding a hairy mouse! (gross).
While the Thursday episode ended with a tight close up of Ronit Roy
(haggard) as Bheeshma, it remains to be seen where this kahaani hamare Mahabharat Ki takes the viewers. And it's sure going to be one hellish ride.
So what's wrong with Ekta's version? Getting popular established actors to play key parts is a great idea but sadly, that works against their performances. For instance, it's very difficult to see a Sakshi beyond Parvati or Ronit beyond Bajaj.
Putting up a K-saga in a blue and pink cardboard room set is one thing and mounting Mahabharat is another, especially when viewers still hold the original Mahabharat close to their hearts. A face off between a Tulsi Virani and Ansh Gujral is a sure TRP winner but when you have Shantanu and Devrata (a young Bheeshma) fighting with cardboard swords – a situation which doesn't exist in the Mahabharat – just for the sake of drama, it's just not right.
And so, all said and done, it's a humble request to Ms Kapoor to be careful with her depiction of the maha epic, lest it ruffles the feathers of die-hard Mahabharat fans.
Reporter and Author: Suhaani Rai