Despite being released over three decades ago, BR Chopra’s television show Mahabharat still enjoys a fan following. Recently, veteran actor Pankaj Dheer, who essayed the role of Karna, shared some interesting lesser-known facts about the show. During the same, he went on to reveal that not Firoz Khan but he was the first choice for the role of Arjun.Pankaj Dheer reveals he was the first choice for Arjun’s role in BR Chopra’s Mahabharat; recalls missing it over “stupidity”
While speaking to Lehren Retro, Dheer recalled, “When I gave my audition, dialogue writers Rahi Masoom Raza, Bhring Tupkari sahab and Pandit Narendra Sharma ji had a panel together. They all thought that I would suit the role of Arjuna well. We shook hands on that. and I signed the contract. Then BR Chopra called me and told me that since I would also have to play the role of Brihannala (the eunuch form of Arjuna) and for that you would need to shave off your moustache.”
Pankaj continued, “I was like, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ I told him that my face’s balance is such that if I shave off my moustache, I won’t look good. He told me, ‘Are you an actor or what? You are leaving such a big role because of a moustache. I can’t understand this.'”
While calling it “stupidity,” the actor shared how destiny allowed him to be a part of the show. He said, “My contract was torn and for six months I kept roaming around and doing dubbing. Chopra sir called me again and this is what I call destiny. He asked me if I could do Karna’s role. I asked him, ‘Sir I don’t have to shave off my moustache right?’ He said no. It was destiny that I got Karna’s role.”
Speaking of BR Chopra’s Mahabharat, directed by his son Ravi Chopra, its re-run during and after the pandemic made it popular again. Aired first in 1988, it has a total of 94 episodes, each being 40–46 minutes long.
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