Amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the national broadcaster Doordarshan, popularly called DD, is bringing back the epics of 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat' for its audience.
The decision was made after a huge demand on social media over a re-run on the Hindu mythological shows. Many Twitter users pointed out how the Ramayan and Mahabharat had earlier "acted as magnets that quarantined people" and that it still can. According to reports, the show will be re-telecast on DD Bharti from Saturday, March 28 at 12 noon and 7 pm every day.
Mahabharat directed by BR Chopra was based on the traditionally accepted version of the text attributed to Ved Vyas and narrates the battle for sovereignty between two groups of cousins, the Kauravas, and Pandavas.
The serial, originally aired from 1988-90, was one-of-a-kind on the small screen and although there have been attempts to re-adapt the epic, none matched Chopra's version. Such was the craze for Mahabharat that people would remain glued to their TV sets and roads remained deserted on Sundays.
B R Chopra's series cast some famous names like Mukesh Khanna, Raj Babbar, Gajendra Chouhan, Praveen Kumar, and Rupa Ganguly. Here's a look at some of the members of the cast after three decades.
Nitish Bharadwaj - Krishna
Nitish's role of Krishna gained him massive popularity. He later reprised the role of Krishna in 2014 TV show Ajab Gajab Ghar Jamai and was last seen in 2016 film Mohenjo Daro.
Rupa Ganguly - Draupadi
Although Rupa made her Bollywood debut opposite Anil Kapoor in Saaheb (1985), she rose to fame with the epic show. She later starred in several critically acclaimed Bengali films and Hindi TV shows.
Mukesh Khanna - Bheeshma
Before Shaktimaan, Khanna was widely known as Bheeshma from Mahabharat. Besides TV shows, he had also worked in many Bollywood films.
Pankaj Dheer - Karna
After starring in films like Sanam Bewafa and Badshah, Mahabharat turned out to be a big break for actor Pankaj. He was also part of hit show Chandrakanta, where he played the character Raja Shivdutt, King of Chunargarh.
Surendra Pal - Dronacharya
Surendra played the role of Dronacharya in Mahabharat and later starred in several other television shows like Chanakya, Shaktimaan, Maharana Pratap, Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev, Siya Ke Ram, Maryada and Shagun.
Firoz Khan - Arjun
Popularly known by his screen name Arjun, Firoz has worked in films like Mehndi, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat and was last seen in Yamla Pagla Deewana 2.
Gufi Paintal - Shakuni
Paintal -the awful uncle from Mahabharata, as he is still referred to - has been part of several historical and mythological shows including Mughal Emperor Humayun and Shani.
Puneet Issar - Duryodhan
Like others, Puneet is best remembered for his portrayal of Duryodhan in the epic show. Besides acting in films, Puneet donned the director's hat for Garv: Pride and Honour (2004) starring Salman Khan. He last appeared on television in Bigg Boss season 8 (2014).
Raj Babbar - Bharat
Popular Bollywood actor Raj Babbar portrayed the role of Bharat in the television series. He later joined politics and is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttarakhand.
Gajendra Chouhan - Yudhishtira
B R Chopra's Mahabharat remains Gajendra Chouhan's most recognized show. In 2015, Mr Chouhan landed in a controversy after he was appointed the chairperson of the Film and Television Institute of India. FTII students went on strike, citing Chouhan's perceived lack of qualifications. His appointment was widely criticized by celebrities as well.
Praveen Kumar - Bheem
Before stepping into television world, Praveen was an athlete star and had won a silver medal in the 1966 Commonwealth Games. He had represented India at 1968 and 1972 Olympics. Praveen gave up acting to become a politician.