Doordarshan brought back the mythological epic Mahabharat by BR Chopra, to make staying at home more enjoyable for people during the coronavirus lockdown.
The show has managed to tap the millennial audience too and has garnered positive ratings so far. The show’s actor Firoz Khan, who essayed the role of Arjun in the series, is elated with the response. In an interaction with Hindustan Times, Khan reminisced his audition days, how he landed the role, and the change of name to match his onscreen persona.
He told the daily that it is a proud moment for him to watch the show with the new generation that is bestowed upon with the opportunity to know more about their culture. He added that Mahabharat was a game-changer for Indian television as impacted people’s lives.
Remembering his audition days, he revealed how he walked into Chopra’s office and saw actors like Deepak Parashar, Raj Babbar and Govinda – who told him to give it a shot. He states that Arjun was to be essayed by Jackie Shroff initially but a week later, he received a call for a look test wearing costume and a moustache. After meeting Chopra and the writers Dr Rahi Masoom Raza and Pandit Narendra Sharma, he was told that they had locked him as Arjun.
Talking about his name change, he narrates that he was mistaken as Feroz Khan and was insulted by producers for potential projects. Therefore on Chopra and Raza’s recommendation he christened himself as his onscreen name Arjun.
BR Chopra's Mahabharat also featured Nitish Bharadwaj as Krishna, Roopa Ganguly as Draupadi, Mukesh Khanna as Bhishma Pitamah, with Gajendra Chauhan, Praveen Kumar, Sameer Chitre and Sanjeev Chitre as the Pandavas, and Punit Issar playing Duryodhana. The show ran originally from 2 October 1988 to 24 June 1990.