Mahabharat (1988 TV series)

Mahabharat is an Indian television series based on the Hindu epic of the same name. The 94-episode Hindi series[1] had its original run from 2 October 1988 to 15 July 1990 on DD National.[2] It was produced by B. R. Chopra and directed by his son, Ravi Chopra. The music was composed by Raj Kamal. 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]

GenreHistorical Drama
Created byB. R. Chopra
Based onMahabharata
Vishnu Purana
Written byPandit Narendra Sharma,
Rahi Masoom Reza
Directed byB. R. Chopra
Ravi Chopra
Creative director(s)Yashwant mahilwar
StarringNitish Bhardwaj
Mukesh Khanna
Gajendra Chauhan
Praveen Kumar
Puneet Issar
Pankaj Dheer
Gufi Paintal
Narrated byHarish Bhimani
Country of originIndia
Original language(s)Hindi
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes94
Producer(s)B. R. Chopra
CinematographyDharam Chopra
Editor(s)Shailendra Doke
Bhirpal Singh
Running time60 minutes (approx)
Original networkDD National
Picture format
Original release2 October 1988 –
24 June 1990
Related showsMahabharat Katha

Each episode ran for approximately 60 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 is the most successful Mahabharata series ever produced for television.

Mahabharat Katha Part II - Story of Barbarik and Veer Babhruvahan was a spin-off series which contained portions left out of Mahabharat.





Episode 1 - Introduction of Kuru Family, Raja Bharat and Raja Shantanu

Episode 2 - Ganga Kills Her Sons

Episode 3 - Bhishma Is Grown-up

Episode 4 - Bhishma Pratigya/Iccha Mrityu Vardaan

Episode 5 - Amba, Ambika and Ambalika's Introduction

Episode 6 - Birth of Pandu, Dhritarashtra and Vidur

Episode 7 - Karna's Birth-story, Dhritarashtra and Gandhari Get Married and Pandu and Kunti Get Married

Episode 8 - Madri is gifted to Pandu, Pandu is resting and Sage Kindama's curse on Pandu

Episode 9 - Dhritarashtra is king his sanyas and Kansa is king and Akashwani about Krishna

Episode 10 - Birth of Balarama and Five Pandavas

Episode 11 - Krishna Janma

Episode 12 - Pootna's Death

Episode 13 - Krishna brahmand darshan and Krishna gets caught while stealing makhan

Episode 14 - Maiya Mori Mai nahi makhan khayo and Kaliya Nag Tandav

Episode 15 - Radha and Gopikas, protest against Mathura, Devakasur and Trulambasur Vadh

Episode 16 - Kansa invites Krishna to Mathura

Episode 17 - Kansa Vadh

Episode 18 - Pandu's Death

Episode 19 - Satyavati, Ambika, Ambalika take sanyas with Rishi Vyas

Episode 20 - Duryodhan Poisons Bhim and Bhim Gets Strength of 1000 Elephants

Episode 21 - Sudama's chivda and Drona arrives to Hastinapur

Episode 22 - Shastra Pooja, Drona insults Karna and Arjun's Test

Episode 23 - Ekalavya, Karna's Education, Arjun's Test of Bird's Eye

Episode 24 - All grown up, prince is to be nominated and everyone exhibit their skills in Rangbhoomi, Karna challenges Arjun and Duryodhan gives Anga desh to Karna

Episode 25 - Drona's guru dakshina to capture Dhrupad

Episode 26 - Krishna gets Sudarshan chakra from Parshuram, defeats Jarasandh and orders building Dwarika

Episode 27 - Yudhishthir Is Crowned as Prince. Rukmini Is Being Forced to Marry Shishupal

Episode 28 - Krishna Rescues Rukmini

Episode 29 - Lakshagriha Is Built in Varnavata by Purochan

Episode 30 - Tunneling in Varnavat Begins

Episode 31 - Escape from Lakshagriha

Episode 32 - Hidimb Vadh and Bhima's marriage

Episode 33 - Bakasur Vadh

Episode 34 - Dristadyumna & Draupadi Birth and Draupadi Swayamvar

Episode 35 - Arjun Wins Draupadi and Later She Became the Wives of 5 Pandavas

Episode 36 - Pandavas Leave from Panchal to Hastinapur

Episode 37 - Pandavas Arrives at Hastinapur and Kingdom Is Divided

Episode 38 - Pandav Get Khandavprastha

Episode 39 - Coronation of Yudhirsthir, Khandavprastha Becomes Indraprastha

Episode 40 - Arjun runs away with Subhadra

Episode 41 - Arjun Weds Subhadra. Arjun Gets Devdatta Conch and Gandiva and Bhima Gets His Gada

Episode 42 - Jarasandh Vadh, Rajsuya Yagnya begins, Shishupal's Story

Episode 43 - Rajsuya Yagya, Shishupal Vadh

Episode 44 - Vyas Predicts War, Draupadi Laughs at Duryodhan

Episode 45 - Pandavas Go to Hastinapur to Gamble

Episode 46 - Yudhishthir Loses Everything

Episode 47 - Vastraharan of Draupadi

Episode 48 - Pandavas Get Back Everything

Episode 49 - Re-match of Dyut

Episode 50 - Vanvas Begins

Episode 51 - Gandharvas Catch Duryodhan

Episode 52 - Arjun Worships Lord Indra and Lord Shiva for Divyastra and Gets Pashupatastra

Episode 53 - Krishna's story of one grain of rice, Bhim meets Ghatotkach and Hanuman, Arjun learns dance from Chitrasen

Episode 54 - Arjun gets curse of impotency from Urvashi, Abhimanyus as a kid, Jayadraths head is shaved

Episode 55 - Story of Poisoned Water and Yaksha, Abhimanyu Is Grown-up

Episode 56 - Agyatvas in Matsya Desh

Episode 57 - Karna's curse, Draupadi as Maid Sairandhri rejects Keechak

Episode 58 - Keechak Vadh by Bheema

Episode 59 - Kaurav Attack Matsya Desh

Episode 60 - Viraat yudh and clothes for Uttara's dolls

Episode 61 - Abhimanyu's Marriage and Pandavs Decide to Send a Doot to Hastinapur

Episode 62 - Dhritarashtra Does Not Agree and Sends Sanjay

Episode 63 - Duryodhan gets Narayani Sena from Krishna

Episode 64 - Krishna Goes to Hastinapur as Shanti Doot

Episode 65 - Krishna tooks Virat Avtar and Indra takes Karna's kawach kundala

Episode 66 - Karna's Identity Is Disclosed

Episode 67 - Vidur resigns as a prime minister, Kunti meets Karna

Episode 68 - Sanjay gets divya drishti, Ulluk goes to Pandavas

Episode 69 - Duryodhan tricks Shalya to join Kauravas

Episode 70 - Shikhandi's Story

Episode 71 - Arjun Worships Goddess Durga, Rules of War Laid

Episode 72 - Kurukshetra War Begins and Arjun Drops His Weapons, Geeta Saar Begins

Episode 73 - Geeta Saar Continues

Episode 74 - Geeta Saar Continues and Krishna Shows His Maha-Avtaar

Episode 75 - Yudhishthir Gets Blessings, Yuyutsu Changes Side and War Begins, Abhimanyu Faces Bhishma

Episode 76 - Uttar dies, Arjun faces Bhishma and day 2 begins

Episode 77 - Arjun is unstoppable, 3rd day is over, 4th day begins, Bhim is surrounded, 10 Kauravs are killed, Krishna takes out his Sudarshan

Episode 78 - 9th Day Is Over and 16 Kauravs Are Dead, Bhishma Tells Arjun How to Take Him Out of the War

Episode 79 - Bhishma lies on the Bed of Arrows, Karna meets Bhishma

Episode 80 - Day 11, Drona tries to capture Yudhishthir but is unsuccessful, Shantanu comes to Bhishma

Episode 81 - Chakra Vyuh Planned, Duryodhan Promises Susharma

Episode 82 - Abhimanyu Vadh

Episode 83 - Arjun Vows to Kill Jayadrath and Story About Jayadrath's Curse

Episode 84 - Arjun Breaks Kamal Vyuh to Get to Jayadrath

Episode 85 - Jayadrath Vadh

Episode 86 - Ghatotkach dies

Episode 87 - Drona Dies

Episode 88 - Dushasana dies and Karna fights with Arjun, Krishna puts the rath in the land so that Arjun is saved

Episode 89 - Karna's curse, Karna Dies

Episode 90 - Shakuni Dies, Yudhishthir Curses All Woman Kind and Duryodhan Becomes Iron Bodied

Episode 91 - Balaram arrives, Bhim-Duryodhan Gada Yudh

Episode 92 - Duryodhan Dies, Ashwathama, Kripa and Kritvarma Remain, Parikshit's Story

Episode 93 - Dhritarashtra Tries to Kill Bhim

Episode 94 - Yudhisthir Becomes King of Hastinapur, Bhishma Dies

Episode 95 - Mahavir Barbrik


According to production team member Kishore Malhotra, the total cost of producing the series was 9 crore (US$1.3 million).[5] Nitish Bharadwaj was chosen by B R Chopra, Ravi Chopra, (screenplay writer) Pandit Narendra Sharma and (dialogue writer) Rahi Masoom Raza, to play the central role of Krishna, at the age of 23.[6][7] Firoz Khan was chosen to portray the character of Arjuna (which he later adopted as his screen name, to not become confused with a more popular actor of the same name) despite being rejected in auditions.[8] Praveen Kumar was selected to portray Bhima after Chopra was looking for someone "who could look the robust mythological character".[9] 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.[10] Raj Babbar and Debashree Roy were the only two star actors of that time, who agreed to be parts of this venture.[11]


It was shown in the United Kingdom by the BBC,[12] where it achieved audience figures of 5.1 million.[13][14] It was also the first programme broadcast on BBC2 after its 1991 revamp,[15] but it had also been shown late at night on BBC 1 the previous year.[16] It has also been shown on FBC TV in Fiji and Star Utsav. It also aired on Epic in Hong Kong and TVB Jade. Dubbed versions were aired in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and also in Indonesia in the early 1990s on TPI (now MNCTV) and in the early 2000s on ANteve (now antv).


  • Roopa Ganguly enacting in the Vastraharan sequence.
  • The sequence is often claimed to be the most climactic one of the series.[17] For the sequence Chopra recreated the visual effect of the Vastraharan sequence of Babubhai Mistry's Mahabharat (1965) starring Padmini as Draupadi.[18] His visual effects won more favour than that of the 1965 film and has still been considered by a part of critics to be the most brilliant in line.[19][20]
  • While Vyasa wrote about Dharma providing Draupadi with clothes, Chopra, in the sequence, delineated the popular myth of Krishna having provided with clothes, which received criticism that Chopra only meant for mass appeal.[21]

Lavanya Mohan of The Hindu in 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." In common with the "Ramayana" serial, the broadcasting of a Mahabharat episode was associated with the simultaneous emptying of streets in the cities and people leaving work early to watch it.[22]

Home mediaEdit

The series was uploaded onto the website "" along with its dubbed Tamil version.[23] Home video of the Bengali-dubbed version of this series has been released by Heart Video.[24]


Mahabharat along with Ramayana (1987) became one of the most successful mythological television series in Indian television. Many actors became popular through their appearances in this series. Mukesh Khanna shot to fame as Bhishma and named his production company after his character, and Roopa Ganguly went on to become a successful actress in Bengali cinema.[25][26]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "B.R. Chopra (Indian filmmaker) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  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. 20 April 2003. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  4. ^ Title Song Lyrics from the TV Series Mahabharat, 21 September 2013, retrieved 1 December 2014
  5. ^ Mahabharat Ki Mahabharat: The Making of B.R. Chopra's "Mahabharat"
  6. ^ "'I DID NOT want to play Krishna in Mahabharat'".
  7. ^ "Janmashtami 2017: Actor Nitish Bharadwaj recollects his days from the Mahabharat".
  8. ^ Tankha, Madhur (29 August 2012). "Mahabharat's Arjun gets blacklisted!". Retrieved 6 October 2018 – via
  9. ^ "'Bheem' waiting for a special role". 12 January 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2018 – via
  10. ^ "Actors talk about what went into making Mahabharat in 1988". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  11. ^ "B.R. Chopra's serial 'Mahabharat' promises to be another bonanza 31101988". Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  12. ^ "BBC Genome:Mahabarat - transmission times". Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  13. ^ "::   >   Epic Hindi Language Series Mahabharat Launches Exclusively on Rogers OMNI Television Channels In Ontario and British Columbia     ::". 29 April 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  14. ^ Jones, Mark (7 June 2013). "The Returned: how British TV viewers came to lose their fear of subtitles". the Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Rochak kahani mahabharat ki". Gkhindinews. 10 February 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Watch Rochak kahani mahabharat ki". Gkhindinews. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Actors talk about what went into making Mahabharat in 1988". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Mahabharat (1965) - Review, Star Cast, News, Photos". Cinestaan. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Why the new Mahabharat is an epic fail- Entertainment News, Firstpost". Firstpost. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Happy B'day BR Chopra: The Story Behind His Iconic 'Mahabharat'". The Quint. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  21. ^ Dissanayake, Wimal (1993). "The concepts of evil and social order in Indian melodrama: an evolving dialectic". In Dissanayake, Wimal (ed.). Melodrama and Asian Cinema. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-41465-4. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  22. ^ Mohan, Lavanya (16 October 2015). "Epic television". Retrieved 6 October 2018 – via
  23. ^ "Mahabharat on the net". 22 December 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2018 – via
  24. ^ "Mahabharat now in Bengali". 20 February 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2018 – via
  25. ^ Ghosh, Bishwanath (25 July 2015). "Ideology vs. stature". Retrieved 6 October 2018 – via
  26. ^ Tankha, Madhur (8 May 2015). "No child's play". Retrieved 6 October 2018 – via

External linksEdit