In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown and also the lack of material to telecast on channels, many of them have resorted to re-telecasting their old shows. However, Doordarshan made the most noise by bringing back their epic sagas - Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan and BR Chopra's Mahabharat back to DD National and DD Bharati. Just like the epic mythology saga that it is based on, Mahabharat is considered one of the most iconic shows made on Indian television of all times. Conceived by the legendary BR Chopra, the serial ran between 1998 to 1990 for about 95 episodes. Retelling the epic rivalry between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, Mahabharat is one of the few Indian shows that stands the test of the time, despite the bad special effects and a few melodramatic performances. When it first aired, Mahabharat managed to make the entire country together to watch the show, with viewers eagerly waiting for Sundays to catch up with the Indian mythology. URI: The Surgical Strike Trio of Vicky Kaushal, Aditya Dhar and Ronnie Screwvala to Re-Unite for a Period Drama on Mahabharata Character Aswatthama?
The show was so famous that many of the actors who were in the main cast are still known by their character names, and some couldn't go beyond the popularity of the series. Gajendra Chauhan (Yudhishtra), Mukesh Khanna (Bhishma), Nitish Bharadwaj (Krishna), Praveen Kumar (Bheema), Puneet Issar (Duryodhana), Pankaj Dheer (Karna), Firoz Khan (Arjuna), Roopa Ganguly (Draupadi) are still remembered by the roles they had in Mahabharat. Apart from these actors, popular stars like Paintal. Gufi Paintal, Debasree Roy, Pankaj Berry, Arun Bakshi, Surendra Pal, Rajesh Vivek were also part of the cast. Has Aamir Khan Shelved His Rs 1000 Crore-Mahabharat Project? The Dangal Actor Speaks the Truth!
And there were other actors, who either had cameos in the show that many have forgotten about or had made their humble beginnings here before they became bigger names in the years ahead. In this special feature, let's look at 7 such actors who were a part of Mahabharat that you might not really associate with the show. Ramayan on DD National and Mahabharat on DD Bharati, Here's The Schedule and Telecast Time for The Ramanand Sagar and BR Chopra Mythological Shows on Doordarshan Channels.
#1 Raj Babbar as King Bharat
The popular Bollywood actor, former Member of Parliament and President of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee was one of the big stars who had a small but integral part to play in Mahabharat. He had played the role of Raja Bharat, the son of Shakuntala and Dushyant, and the scion of Bharatvarsha. Raj Babbar Sends Resignation to Rahul Gandhi Following Congress's Dismal Performance in Uttar Pradesh.
#2 Varsha Usgaonkar as Uttara
Marathi actress Varsha Usgaonkar, who had acted in Bollywood films like Insaniyat Ka Devta and Hatya: The Murder, had played Princess Uttara, the wife of Prince Abhimanyu.
#3 Pradeep Rawat as Ashwattama
Pradeep Rawat is well-known for playing Sultan in Sarfarosh, Deva in Lagaan and his most famous role, the titular antagonist in Ghajini. In Mahabharat, he had played Ashwattama, who played a crucial role in the final episodes. After the defeat of Kauravas, Ashwattama, who was a friend of the Pandavas but fought for their enemies because of his duty, was angered by Duryodhana's fatal beating by Bheema. In vengeance, he attacks Pandava camp and mistakenly kills Pandavas' sons, thinking it was them. After getting cornered by the grieving Pandavas, Ashwattama tries to kill Abhimanyu's unborn son, Parikshit, using Brahmastra but Krishna saves the day and curses him to live eternally repenting for what he had done.
#4 Chetan Hansraj as Young Balrama
Chetan Hansraj is a well-known actor in the television circuit, known for his roles in Ekta Kapoor shows like Kkusum and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii. In Mahabharat, he played a teenage Balrama. Interestingly, Chetan had also played Bheema in Ekta's shortlived series, Kahaani Hamaaray Mahaabhaarat Ki.
#5 Sumeet Raghavan as young Sudama
Sumeet Raghavan is well-known as the frustrated Dr Sahil Sarabhai in the iconic comedy series, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. But not many know that he had played a young Sudama, Lord Krishna's poor Brahmin friend in a couple of episodes of Mahabharat. Veteran Bollywood actor, the late Paintal, had played the adult Sudama. It is also interesting to note here that Paintal had played another role in the show, that of Shikhandi, a warrior in the Pandava army, who was born a girl.
#6 Sharat Saxena as Keechaka
Sharat Saxena is familiar to Bollywood fans for his villain and comic roles. Some of his popular movies are Mr India, Tridev, Khiladi, Ghulam, Gupt, Baghban, Phir Hera Pheri, Krrish, and Bajrangi Bhaijan. In Mahabharat, he had played Keechaka, the sleazy commander-in-chief of Matsya kingdom, where the Pandavas stayed in disguise during the last year of their exile. Keechaka had tried to molest Draupadi, so he was killed by an angry Bheema.
#7 Sudesh Berry as Vichitravirya
Television actor Sudesh Berry was once a popular Bollywood leading star, appearing in movies like Vansh, Army and Border. Mahabharat was one of his earliest works where he played the ill-fated Kuru prince Vichitravirya, appearing in only one episode. He had also played King Dhrupada in Star Plus' Mahabharat. The repeat telecast of BR Chopra saga airs from March 28, 2020 on DD Bharati, once at 12 noon and once in the evening at 7 pm.