Lightsaber of CC
Joined: 25 January 2011
India, Hindustan, Bharat, three names for the same country which is the seventh largest by area, second largest by population and the largest democracy in the world. The very essence of each of these names is derived from ancient history which in turn owes its origin to mythology.
The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindu (Hindustan thus being the 'land of the Hindus'). The latter term stems from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, which was the historical local appellation for the Indus River which powered one of the world's earliest urban civilizations viz. the Indus Valley Civilization. The river Indus originates in the Tibetan plateau in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar which is one of largest freshwater lakes in the world and of extreme significance to Hindus and Buddhists. For thousands of years India has been known to be the land of religion, spirituality and mysticism all of which stems from its very name and roots in Hinduism.
Hinduism, with about one billion followers, is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. It is also one of the oldest schools of thought in the world with earliest evidence dating back to the early Harappan period (c. 5500–2600 BCE). It was however during the Vedic period (c. 1700–500 BCE), that the foundations of Hindu philosophy, mythology, and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices which still exist today, such as dhrma, krma, yga, and mok?a, were established. Hinduism is also considered to be the mother of most religions shaped by various historical schools of thought, including those of the Upanishads, Yoga Sutras, Bhakti movement, and Buddhist philosophy.
Anyone who visits India particularly around an important religious festival of the country would be amazed to see the magnanimity of idol worship and the number of deities prevalent in the country. That count is said to stand at 330 million, although a more rational view contends that the number actually represents infinity and denotes the infinite forms of God. For all practical purposes though, modern day Hinduism has only three main gods; "Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara" also referred to as the Trimurti. Of the three it is only Vishnu and Shiva who are worshiped in one of many forms around the world. While Vishnu and his ten avatars are popular and well depicted on film, television and through the timeless epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the mythology around the life of Shiva (also known as Devon Ke Dev Mahadev) was so far left largely unexplored.
Shiva is in fact the only major Hindu deity known to reside on Earth at the peaks of Mount Kailash in his true avatar whereas Vishnu requires an incarnation to be present on the blue planet. The life and form of Shiva is one of terrific intrigue offering timeless lessons that can be applied to modern day life even today. He is one of the few Hindu gods to be worshiped in both symbolic (see Lingam) and physical form. The mythological tales around Shiva and his consort Parvati (previously Sati) refer to numerous temples spread across India which have become major destinations of religious tourism today. Surprisingly, a magnum opus based on the life of Shiva had been missing from Indian television for many years. Indian audiences have an insatiable appetite for mythology so it was just a matter of time before the only unexplored mega Hindu deity was brought to life on the telly.
On December 18, 2011, Life OK an Indian cable and satellite channel, owned and produced by STAR TV and distributed worldwide by Fox International Channels premiered a show titled "Devon Ke Dev Mahadev". The show combined various sources on the life of the deity including the Shiva Puranas and research by noted Indian mythologist Devdutt Pattnaik. Within a few months post its launch it has become one of the most popular shows on Indian television captivating the imagination of audiences across all age groups. Devon Ke Mahadev chronicles the life of Shiva starting from his relationship with Sati, his unwillingness to get married to her due to her flaws, the subsequent marriage and consequences of the same. In the process it has depicted numerous facts that are stated in the various works of Shiva mythology but have been relatively unknown to Indian audiences. The self-immolation of Sati, consequent suffering of Shiva, formation of the river Ganga, marriage to Parvati and her journey to becoming a part of Shiva and the source of all energy on Earth has received a great reception from viewers.
Some of the reasons behind the success of Devon Ke Dev Mahadev has been the terrific attention to detail to every topic shown which in today's world can be instantly verified through a Google search. Additionally, the presentation of the show which encompasses the characters, the performances, the sets, costumes, background music etc has been flawless. One individual who has received rave reviews for his performance on the show is actor Mohit Raina who essays the lead role of Lord Shiva himself. 30 year old Mohit (who bears a resemblance in appearance and voice to MS Dhoni) who hails from the abode of Shiva (Jammu and Kashmir) was a professional model and little known soap star before he landed the title role in Devon Ke Dev Mahadev. Mohit who had a very lean physique prior to the show was asked to put on weight and bulk up as part of his preparation in addition to taking diction lessons in Hindi and learning Kathak. His characterization of Lord Shiva actually brings him close to the deity's popular idol form which is why he has become a subject of immense attention and audience adulation.
Post the success of the show the on-screen Devon Ke Dev Mahadev now faces the challenge of not being type-casted in the same kind of roles and more importantly handling the attention of his fans. Given the fanaticism for mythology and god in India he is likely to have unsettling encounters with people who would treat him as if he were REALLY Lord Shiva.
We Indians are very emotional. In fact on the sets, when we get visitors, they ask me to pose for them in weird positions. One guy took my snap and gifted it to his grandmother! People also ask me to solve their problems. – said Mohit when queried about being idolized as god in remote parts of India as a result of his performance on Devon Ke Dev Mahadev (Source: Screen India)
Well, Mohit and the entire team behind the show have done a terrific job of depicting the various aspects of Shiva while also educating the masses with timeless principles on how to lead a happy life. We just hope that some of the show's magic rubs off on the country's politicians many of whom are staunch followers of Shiva and use their own religious principles to mis-guide the masses. What do you think of the show? Share your thoughts by dropping a comment and help us make this feature interactive and engaging.
Lightsaber of CC
Joined: 25 January 2011
Lightsaber of CC
Joined: 25 January 2011
News! News! News! Once again TOI.com brings some hot and sizzling dope for our readers. Yesterday (8th October, 2012), we exclusively reported about Life OK's programming changes in order to welcome few new projects to the channel.
We too wrote about channels decision to axe few shows where in Main Lakshmi Tere Angan Ki is stood first in the line to get axed. Now according to a source Hats Off Production's Alakshmi too will bite the dust along with Main Lakshmi.
But that's not the entire story. We too hear that for Wizcraft Production's Ram Leela with Ajay Devgn the channel has asked production houses of Devo Ke Dev Mahadev and Amrit Manthan to air their content for 45 Minutes instead of 30.
Therefore from 5th to 16th of November, Mahadev and Amrit Manthan will air for 45 minutes each, followed by Ram Leela with Ajay Devgn airing from 9:30 to 10:30 PM. sounds interesting!
On the other hand Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz will air from 22nd of October, Monday to Friday from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, followed by Mahadev, whereas Savdhaan India will get a shifted to the next slot.
It is also heard that channel is still contemplating on the changes whether to continue Alakshmi and Main Lakshmi till 2nd of November or to axe the shows on 21st and telecast the repeats in the mean time.
When contacted, Nikhil Sinha, producer of Mahadev, stated, "Yes, that's true channel has asked us to give 45 mins of content to the channel. Rest we are concentrating on our maha episode of Kartikeya."
All our efforts to reach Rajan Shahi were futile.
With so many changes, it's time to rejoice,Mahadev and Amrit Manthan's fans!
Lightsaber of CC
Joined: 25 January 2011
It seems that the time has come for good to conquer over evil in Life OK's Devo Ke Dev Mahadev. For the same, the makers ( Triangle Film Company) are gearing up for the upcoming maha episode, where Kartikeya will finally kill Tarkasur, which will hit the airwaves coming Sunday, 14th October.
Lets give a sneak peak of this fuming battle!
As in the show, Kartikeya ( Rishiraj Pawar) gets finally trained and has been declared as Senapati. Parvati ( Sonarika Bhadoria), who was earlier against the fight, finally decides to allow him to fight with Tarkasur.
In the coming episodes, Indra will exaggerate Kartikeya as a perfect warrior, due to which he gets over confident and denies Nandi for his further practice and tells that he doesn't need any further practice as he is now an ultimate warrior and is ready for the final battle.
Further more, Mahadev ( Mohit Raina) and Parvati too discusses that they have seen over confidence in their son, meanwhile Nandi informs Mahadev about Kartikey's rejection over training. Upset Mahadev tells Kartikeya to stop being over confidence or else he will lose the battle but Kartikeya does not feel so and challenges Mahadev for a fight.
Listening this Parvati gets stunned that Kartikeya has challenged Mahadev. Kartikeya is ready to fight while Mahadev sends Gan to fight against him. On the other hand, Deities gets surprised to see Shiv Putra in this avatar. Eventually, Kartikeya in his egoism and over confidence lose fight against Gan and realizes his mistake. On which Mahadev explains him that a warrior should never get selfish and over confident. Kartikeya ask for apologies from Mahadev.
In spite of Deva's request of not blessing Tarakasur, Brahma blesses Tarkasur according to his wish. Now with this progress, all deities are shocked as how Kartikeya will fight against him?
But guys, one must not forget that Tarakasur had a curse of getting defeated only by Shiv Putra at any cost. So in a battle of the mighty beings, Taraksur builds a chakravyuh to match the magnitude of the fight. Kartikeya, now the leader of the gods, duels with Taraksur and eventually slays the demon's head off with his spear, the final victory of good over evil takes place.
Producer Nikhil Sinha stated, "We all are excited for the Maha episode and are working hard towards it. Hope audiences will once again appreciate our efforts.
Get ready to witness the last battle of Tarakasur!
Lightsaber of CC
Joined: 25 January 2011
Lightsaber of CC
Joined: 25 January 2011
I am not alone when I declare that I have not missed a single episode of Mahadev and I do wish that the entire show comes out on DVD soon. I am not surprised that Mahadev is easily amongst the top shows in prime time ratings and if you don't believe me then maybe the recent TRP ratings will convince you. It is amazing that in a day and age when social and mainstream dramas conquer each and every channel, a mythological show about Lord Shiva can keep Indian and overseas viewers riveted. Mahadev is the brainchild of Nikhil Sinha, who was also the directorial and cinematographic force behind shows like 'Baba Aiso Var Dhoondo', 'Jai Shri Krishna', 'Prithvi Raj Chauhan' and many more. When Tinsel Gupshup arrived on the sets of Mahadev, we were entering the world Nikhil Sinha had dreamed up. In the hustle of lights, camera, music, dance, Agni dev, Mahadev, Parvati and action…Nikhil gave us the story behind Mahadev's story!
TG: How did Mahadev happen? In this day and age when saas bahu and crime shows are predominant, how did you decide to take on a mythological show?
NS: Mahadev is a massive project but mythological shows are not new to Indian television. I feel that this genre has done well but the makers and viewers have also attached a 'Bhakti Bhaav' to mythological shows. So even though people connect with the stories nobody has actually attempted to make such shows the way they are supposed to be made. This is a huge genre but it is really difficult to make a mythological, historical and costume show and that makes it untouched territory. With Mahadev, I wanted to be as real and honest as possible and when honesty forms the core of a project…it works! Social dramas are doing very well and that genre is dominating the industry because there is a lot of scope in terms of stories and screenplay and such shows are easier to make compared to costume dramas and mythological shows. During the course of my career I have always been associated with costume dramas so when I turned producer, I knew that I will go with the genre that has fascinated me and my motto was – if I am going to do it, I will do it right! I decided to make a show on Mahadev because even though we have seen shows on him, he still remains the most untouched and unexplored God. Mahadev is also a multifaceted God and that gave me huge scope in terms of the story. Most of the mythological shows are made on a very superficial level – God appears, he says something, gives an aashirwaad and goes back. With Mahadev I wanted to explore the story behind God...not just his preaching but the story about his life, love…
TG: Can you tell us a bit about what really went into starting a project like Mahadev?
NS: When you start a new show, the first three months are the most hectic and crucial. I had to set my actors, characters, directors, crew, location, etc and all this was done in the first couple of months. Initially, I was directing the show so I was present at each and every shoot then gradually the directors who were with me from the beginning took over and I took a backseat and oversaw the whole thing. So, once the show is set, my directors' shoot and I watch over all the aspects. The initial three months are extremely important especially for a show like Mahadev because I had to get my characters right. I had to get a normal guy who wears T-shirts and jeans into the character of Lord Shiva and that is not an easy task. We did our research, looked into many religious texts and then I had to work on my actors – get their body movements right, the walk had to be right, expressions, pronunciations, dialogues etc. Of course my actors are intelligent and they put in just as much research and effort and by the time the shoot started, they were able to slip into character and get things right. Once everything is set, the show is good to go!
TG: Whenever you delve into politics, spirituality or religion…there is a fear of ruffling some feathers. Were you ever concerned about that? I am sure a lot of people write to you saying no this is not how it is written; this is not what happened…etc
NS: To be honest, nobody can vouch for what really happened because no one was there when these things happened. We do a great deal of research and we follow some guidelines. I don't tamper with what has been written and we don't tweak the story just to get numbers. We have always tried to be honest and genuine with whatever we find in our research. There will always be a majority and minority view, for example some people say that Ganesha came first and some say that Kathikeyan came first. So along with our research, we go with the majority view. As long as we are not tweaking and twisting the story, we are very confident and don't have any apprehensions about the storyline of the show.
TG: The show is about the emotional side of Shiva…We have seen so many facets of Shiva but the love side of his life has never been explored. Was that your idea?
NS: Exactly! Normally what happens in a mythological is that you show everything but you don't explain anything. That has been my observation but again that cannot be blamed on the way the show is made, in fact that is how a mythological is written as well. We read a lot of religious books and texts but there was no order or chronology – the lord came, he did this, he did that but there is no explanation on why he took those actions. Apart from that there are a lot of contradictions – so one book says something and another book will say something completely different. There are no connections and that was our task…to find the reasons and connect the dots. When you start finding those connections, it helps build the character as well. Mahadev has been a complete explorative journey for us and I feel this is the first time someone has tried to get to the root, understand and then show why Lord Shiva did what he did. The story behind his love is a prominent aspect of his life…a lot of things happened because of his love and emotions. The fact that he is called 'Bholenath', his Rudra avatar…there are reasons behind all these stories which in turn led to other events. So we chose to focus on the emotional side of Lord Shiva and that is how the narrative for this show is written
TG: A lot of viewers were expecting Mouni to come back as Parvati…were there any creative reasons why that did not happen? People have the image of Sati in their minds and the chemistry was beautiful so were there any reasons for bringing Sonarika as Parvati?
NS: I believe that my conviction to bring a new face as Parvati has worked very well. You have to understand that Sati and Parvati could not have been the same face! If Parvati came back as Sati then why would Mahadev resist…right? He was devastated after Sati's death, he was completely lost. So now he has been in tapasya for ages, opens his eyes, sees the face of the woman he had loved and lost, then obviously he will embrace her and move forward but that is not what happened. So Sati and Parvati had to be two different faces. I realized that the Sati-Mahadev pairing was set, their chemistry was set and appreciated and many people told me that bringing a new face as Parvati might affect the numbers but I wanted to be as honest and real as possible so I said - ok all that does not matter. My conviction said that Sonarika would be perfect as Parvati and I believe it has worked out beautifully. If we had taken a 'Godly' approach and attitude to the show and shown that Lord Shiva knows everything and is prepared for the worst then why would he have gone crazy when Sati died? I believe that lord Shiva has a very human side to him and when you think about it, he is the only God who has this kind of a love story, and he lives on Kailash so he lives on Earth. So I just want to reiterate that with Mahadev we have tried to be as real as possible.
TG: You have been a director and a producer, which is more challenging?
NS: A producer's job is extremely difficult. Direction is just one aspect and as a director, you know your job and you just focus on those particular aspects that fall under the 'direction' realm. Production involves so many aspects; in fact direction too falls under that umbrella. As a producer I have to look into so many things – story, direction, camera, arrangements, casting, editing, creative, sets and so much more. On top of that I have to supervise the whole thing and ensure that the whole thing falls into place. So as a producer, I have to look after 20 things at the same time whereas as a director I had to focus on just one thing. Once the shoot is over, as a director you are free but as a producer you are not…so production can be very taxing.
TG: What is your favourite aspect about the show?
NS: Mohit Raina! He is the most dedicated guy I have worked with. See, when you see a person in T-shirt and Jeans, it is very difficult to imagine him in a costume and get-up. When I saw Mohit, I could just picture him as Lord Shiva and I said to everyone around me – I have found my Lord Shiva! Mohit truly is a discovery, he is so hard-working, dedicated and he has just put everything in his life on the backburner for this show! You can't even imagine what it takes to get into that 'Lord Shiva' mode; it is not a joke to be portraying God on television. Mohit has completely changed his lifestyle and I have to give him credit for bringing the show up to this level. Ultimately, he is the face of the show, that in itself is a huge responsibility and he takes it very seriously. I have been in this industry for 15 years and Mohit is my absolute favorite actor and person. Believe me, I am not saying all this because he is my lead…seriously, I have not seen such hard work and dedication!
TG: This is your own show, your baby but you have been a director before. When do you divorce yourself from the project and leave it in the capable hands of your director or do you step in and give your inputs where the direction is concerned?
NS: You have to. Basically you have to get the show to a particular level after which you can leave it on autopilot mode. Initially, I was producing and directing so I was doing two things. After finishing, I would go on my edits and then I would sit and focus on the CGI and Graphics because that is a huge part of this show. I had conceptualized the show, I had a vision for it so I would be at the shoot from 9-11, head to the edit and get that right, focus on CGI and get that right, head home and get 2 hours of sleep, head back to the shoot and start the whole thing over again! That was my schedule and routine for 2 months and then I was taking care of all the production stuff (channel meetings etc). The thing is that since Mahadev is my show, my concept and vision, it would have been very stupid of me to expect someone else to take care of it! So it only made sense for me to pave the way, show the team my vision and then after 2-3 months hand it over in their capable hands. The first couple of months were extremely taxing but when you make a show like Mahadev for a television channel then you have to go through this.
TG: What is your favourite scene so far?
NS: Now, that is a tough question to answer. Actually, every time we do a scene, I feel overwhelmed because each time we are trying to create a new benchmark. That is the beauty of Mahadev – we are not afraid to try new things. I think the whole Veerbhadra sequence was very nice. Sati's sacrifice leading to Mahadev's anger and Veerbhadra…that was an extremely emotional part of the show. Even though Sati had sacrificed herself, Mahadev saw it as murder…that is what he thought, that his wife had been murdered! When Mahadev invoked Veerbhadra using a strand of his hair, he said, "Go and kill the person who has murdered my wife." I wrote that dialogue and it is one of my favorite dialogues! So that whole chapter was very emotional and it was the climax of the Shiva-Sati love story…the girl ends her life because her father insults her husband. Veerbhadra's action sequence, the destruction, Mahadev's anger, Vishnuji reminding Mahadev of his responsibilities and duties, Mahadev losing his sanity and mourning the loss of Sati…that was a beautiful chapter…definitely my favorite.
TG: The costumes in the show are so beautiful; do you have an input in that area? Since this is a mythological do you have to stick to "real" in terms of getup and costume?
NS: Oh yes, as a director and producer I have to get involved in everything. All the props, costumes etc have to fit within the storyline and the scheme of the show and story. We have a very talented team taking care of all the creative aspects. Neerusha (the costume designer) is an old friend and she designs the costumes for the show, my wife Sohanna has a major input in that area as well and I have to mention my creative – Angira Vats and her valuable input as well. So they do all their research work and then I see the final product and put in my two bits.
TG: It must have been a gargantuan task to cast Mahadev. This person would become the face of Lord Shiva for generations to come. How did you go about finding Lord Shiva?
NS: Hmmm…this question will require some explaining! Right, so how does the process of casting work? When you read and think about a character, you have to give it a point of reference. So, I had to create a point of reference in mind for Lord Shiva…this is something I could use to explain to my team just what I was looking for in my lord Shiva…something my team could connect with. So, my reference point was the young Arjun Rampal! If I was making a film on Lord Shiva, the young Arjun Rampal would have been my choice to portray Mahadev because he has that personality; he has a long chiseled face, very long nose and soft eyes. He is a very good looking guy and now that I have mentioned it, I bet you can imagine him in Mahadev's get-up as well…he has the perfect combination of a soft and hard face! To delve into this a bit further, I was looking for someone with Arjun's broad forehead!! If you imagine him with his hair gelled or pulled back, what kind of a forehead does he have? Very broad…right? Lord Shiva has a broad forehead, chiseled cheekbones and jaw line and that was what I was looking for. Now, when you see Mohit in this context…especially now that I have mentioned all this, you will be able to see the resemblance between the two. Mohit does have a better nose, he has that sharp hooked nose and prominent Kashmiri features and Lord Shiva must have been 'Pahari' because he lived in Kailash. So that is the attention to detail I had to delve into for my lord Shiva!
Now Mohit auditioned and was shortlisted for some other character in this show. At that point, I had a vision of what my Shiva should look like but I was having no luck finding him. So, I told my guys to give me the photographs and details of everyone we had auditioned till that point. I was going through my bin and suddenly I saw Mohit in another character's costume and I told my team to call him in so I could meet him personally. Now, if you see Mohit in his regular clothes, he looks very different, so everyone around me kept saying that he will not fit in and Mahadev's look will not suit him. I was determined to see Mohit in the get-up and I knew it will suit him and then when he finally tried the look…he was perfect! I knew he was my Lord Shiva! Once the look is sorted, half the battle has been won.
TG: You are the producer of one of the top shows on Indian television what will be your next project? What next for Nikhil Sinha?
NS: (Laughs) I don't know. It is going to be very challenging for me because after making a show like Mahadev…what else can I make? I have raised the bar for myself and at this point it is very difficult to envision what I will do next. I do have a few ideas, few things in my mind but let's see. The thing is that now people have very high expectations from me and I have very high expectations from myself so I have to make something better than this. I don't consider myself a perfectionist but I really enjoy what I do and at the end of the day my work should make me happy. If I am happy with my work, the results will show. The idea is that Mahadev will continue till the time we can make it gracefully. We will not disgrace the show or the story at any point. The moment we feel that there is nothing left in the story and 'abh kheench rahein hai', no matter what the ratings are, we will shut the show down.
TG: Has the show changed you in any way?
NS: I was always a spiritual guy and I have a deep connection with God. I talk to him, ask him for what I want and I have a very one on one relationship with God. Whatever I do...I express gratitude. I think that when you take on a project your thought process moves in that direction. So if you make a mythological show, you start exploring and reading more on the subject. Similarly if you make crime shows, you start looking into that area. We have done so much research for Mahadev, read so many beautiful texts, discovered secrets and stories…so obviously the spirituality just takes over. You feel more connected with God.
TG: When you get time, what do you do?
NS: I do get time for myself and my family…I create that balance. So whenever I get time off, I spend it with my wife and daughter and I watch a lot of movies. I do like to travel but don't get time for long holidays but we still try and take short trips.
TG: Have you received any criticism on the show?
NS: No, everyone I speak to is happy with the show. I have never received any criticism. I don't think anything is wrong with the show and most people who watch it feel proud about it. So, 'abhi tak aisa mauka aaya nahi.'
TG: Best compliment about the show
NS: Let me think, because there have been so many compliments. I feel so proud that I am associated with this show. Ok I am the maker of this show yet I am just a part of it. I feel that just being associated with Mahadev is my biggest achievement. Everyone who is connected with the show considers themselves lucky. I think that the best compliment is that Mahadev has surpassed religious and class boundaries because everyone watches the show. I remember when I started the show; someone asked me what will be the benchmark or achievement for this show. On Indian television, we have mainstream shows and Costume dramas (Period, fantasy, historical, mythological) and I have always been a fan of costume dramas. So I thought about the question and I figured that if I can create a show where I can remove the distinction of Period or Mainstream then that will be an achievement or benchmark for me. With Mahadev, we are moving along those lines and our ratings show that we are reaching a point where this show is no longer just a mythological…it is a mainstream show on television.
Photo credit: Nikhil Sinha
Lightsaber of CC
Joined: 25 January 2011
Lightsaber of CC
Joined: 25 January 2011
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