Will glamour, technology driven 'Mahabharat' prove popular?

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) TV tycoon Ekta Kapoor's "Kahani Hamare Mahabharat Ki" scheduled to go air Monday night on 9X, is already the talk of the town for its array of TV stars, designer costumes and spectacular sets, but it remains to be seen whether it will match the standards of B.R. Chopra's version of the mythological drama.

Suraj Rao, creative head of the show, refutes the perception that the mega epic has lost its sheen and appeal only because of the renewed look given to it.

"'Mahabharat' has its own inherent dialogues, which are being offered in a new package. It is an altogether new 'Mahabharat' that has never been shown on television. But the spirit of the epic remains the same," Rao told IANS on phone from Mumbai.

Big names from small screen like Ronit Roy, Chetan Hansraj, Sakshi Tanwar, Hiten Tejwani and Kiran Karmarkar play pivotal roles in the show.

Bollywood's ace fashion designer Manish Malhotra has designed the costumes for the stars. The sets and actions have been digitally enhanced to give a new-age look to the show based on the epic.

Amar Shetty, action director of the show, said: "This 'Mahabharat' is completely hi-tech and based on the favouritism of people in this tech-savvy world. People's perception has changed now. Movies like 'Krrish' have earned great business due to their visual effects and the digital technology they have used. We have tried to add a different flavour to the epic."

The serial has been shot at different locations to bring about a unique background effect so that they appeal to viewers.

"We went on varied locations according to the demand of the scenes. All the romantic scenes between Shantanu and Ganga have been shot in Ladakh and whenever we were required to show summer scenes we shot them at Jaipur," explained Rao.

Many see a strong possibility of the technological aspect of the show overshadowing the content, but Rao doesn't feel so.

He said: "We are just bringing the show in a new package to the public keeping the drama in its original form."

Ever since Ekta's version of "Mahabharat" was announced, people have been wondering whether or not the new version will be able to recreate the same magic that B.R. Chopra did.

Since the latter had left an indelible mark in the minds of the audience, it seems difficult for the new show to gain high television rating points.

Mukesh Khanna, who essayed the role of Bheeshma Pitamah in Chopra's version, says that whatever digital technology might be used in the new version of "Mahabharat", actors would find it difficult to match the standard of dialogue delivery.

"We used to work from 7 a.m. till late night to perfect each shot and dialogue. In today's hectic schedule, it is not possible for anyone, not even me, to devote so much time to a single project," Mukesh explained.

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