Amid nationwide lockdown due to Coronavirus pandemic, everyone is following the guidelines to stay at home in order to contain the spread of the deadly virus. In order to keep the families entertained, Doordarshan started airing older shows from the 80s and the 90s. After Ramayan raked in huge viewership, BR Chopra's Mahabharat started to air which also received tremendous response. After it ended on DD National, it is currently re-airing on the Colors channel.
One of the most favourites of the show was Shakuni Mama whose manipulation led to the Kurukshetra war between Kauravas and Pandavas. The actor Gufi Paintal embodied the role and admitted that people used to love to hate him so much. Speaking to Indian Express recently, he recalled a moment when he received a threatening letter. "A letter I remember was from a gentleman who threatened me! He said I should stop doing evil deeds or he would break my legs! The special thing about those days was the fact that people were so innocent back then and thought that I was Shakuni in reality. People loved to hate me because of my character. To single out any one memory would be tough as there were just so many amazing memories of working with the cast. They all are memories of life," he said.
He further revealed that he also conducted the auditions of the major characters of the show. The actor was working on the show called Bahadur Shah Zafar in which he essayed the role of Lord Metclaff. It is because of that, he got the role of Shakuni mama. He said, “I conducted auditions for almost all the characters. As far as my casting was concerned, I had played Lord Metclaff in a serial just before Mahabharat called Bahadur Shah Zafar. In it, Ashok Kumar played the leading role and I was the only antagonist. Taking a lead from there, I was cast to play Shakuni. I feel very honored and happy that I got to play a role that gave me space to show my talent as an actor. While I did not have the idea that it was going to be such a massive hit, I also know that this show will always be special to me because of all the amazing people working on the show, especially BR Chopra.”
Gufi Paintal went onto become one of the most prominent faces in the history of villains in the TV and movie industry. He was compared with Mogambo, and Amjad Khan's Gabbar too.
Mahabharat is currently airing at 7 pm on the channel.