Mahabharat (1988 TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the 2008 TV series produced by Balaji Telefilms, see Kahaani Hamaaray Mahaabhaarat Ki. For the 2013 Star Plus series produced by Swastik Pictures, see Mahabharat (2013 TV series).
Genre Mythological Drama
Based on Mahabharata
Written by Pandit Narendra Sharma,
Rahi Masoom Reza
Directed by Ravi Chopra
Narrated by Harish Bhimani
Country of origin India
Original language(s) Hindi
No. of episodes 94
Producer(s) B. R. Chopra
Running time 45 minutes (approx)
Original network DD National
Original release 2 October 1988 – 24 June 1990
Related shows Kahaani Hamaaray Mahaabhaarat Ki
Vishnu Puran
Mahabharat Katha

Mahabharat is an Indian television series based on the Hindu epic of the same name. The 94-episode Hindi series[1] originally ran from 2 October 1988 to 24 June 1990 on DD National.[2] It was produced by B. R. Chopra and directed by his son Ravi Chopra. The music was composed by Rajkamal. The script was written by the Urdu poet Rahi Masoom Raza, based on the original story by Vyasa. Costumes for the series were provided by Maganlal Dresswala.[3]

Each episode ran for approximately 45 minutes and began with a title song that consisted of lyrical content and two verses from the Bhagavad Gita.[4] The title song was sung and the verses rendered by singer Mahendra Kapoor. The title song was followed by a narration by Indian voice artist Harish Bhimani of a personification of Time, detailing the current circumstances and highlighting the spiritual significance of the content of the episode.

It was shown in the United Kingdom by the BBC, where it achieved audience figures of 5 million. It was also the first programme broadcast on BBC2 after its 1991 revamp, It has also been shown on FBC TV in Fiji and Star Utsav.It also aired on Epic. The series was also dubbed in all major South Indian languages.

Mahabharat Katha Part II - Story of Barbarik and Veer Babhruvahan


Kuru Clan[edit]

Oldest Generation
1st Generation
2nd Generation
3rd generation
4th generation
5th Generation
6th Generation
Yadava Clan
  • Rakesh Bidua as Kashya, King Of Kashi
  • Jahnavi as Amba, 1st princess of Kashi
  • Pawan Shukla as Shalv Kumar, Prince of Salwa Kingdom

Cast before leap[edit]


According to production team member Kishore Malhotra, the total cost of producing the series was 9 crore (US$1.3 million).[5] Firoz Khan was chosen to portray the character of Arjun (which he later adopted as his screen name) despite being rejected in auditions.[6] Praveen Kumar was selected to portray Bheem after Chopra was looking for someone "who could look the robust mythological character".[7] Around six actors were shortlisted for the role of Draupadi, including Juhi Chawla, who opted out of the show as she had bagged a film. Ramya Krishnan and Roopa Ganguly were the final names, and at last Roopa Ganguly was chosen, as her Hindi was good. Govinda (actor) and Chunky Pandey were signed for the role of Abhimanyu, but they opted out when they bagged films. Later, Master Mayur played the role.[8]


It was shown in the United Kingdom by the BBC,[9] where it achieved audience figures of 5 million.[10][11] It was also the first programme broadcast on BBC2 after its 1991 revamp,[12] but had also been shown late at night on BBC 1 the previous year.[13] It has also been shown on FBC TV in Fiji and Star Utsav.It also aired on Epic. Dubbed versions were aired in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and also in Indonesia in the early 1990s.


Lavanya Mohan of The Hindu on her article "Retelling of Mahabharata on Television over the years" wrote "The version that left the maximum impact on me is BR Chopra’s. Yes, the sets were gaudy, the effects comical, and the acting got a little too dramatic at times, but the writing and the way the episodes were paced ensured that the series was ahead of its time."[14]

Home media[edit]

The series was uploaded on the website "" along with its dubbed Tamil version.[15] Home video of Bengali dubbed version of its series has been released by Heart Video.[16]


Mahabharat along with Ramayana (1987) became one of the successful mythological television series in Indian television. Many actors went on to become popular through the series. Mukesh Khanna shot to fame as Bhishma and went on to name his production company after the character's name and Roopa Ganguly went on to become a successful actress in Bengali cinema.[17][18]


  1. ^ "B.R. Chopra (Indian filmmaker) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  2. ^ McLain, Karline (2009). India's immortal comic books: gods, kings, and other heroes. Indiana University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-253-22052-3. 
  3. ^ "Behind the scenes: Dress designers to actors & deities". The Tribune. April 20, 2003. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ Title Song Lyrics from the TV Series Mahabharat, September 21, 2013, retrieved December 1, 2014 
  5. ^ Mahabharat Ki Mahabharat: The Making of B.R. Chopra's "Mahabharat"
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Actors talk about what went into making Mahabharat in 1988". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 6 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "BBC Genome:Mahabarat - transmission times". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  10. ^ Epic Hindi Language Series Mahabharata Launches Exclusively on Rogers OMNI Television Channels In Ontario and British Columbia
  11. ^ The Returned: how British TV viewers came to lose their fear of subtitles
  12. ^ "The TV Room". The TV Room. 16 February 1991. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  13. ^ "The TV Room". The TV Room. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]