A new series based on the ancient Indian war epic Mahabharat is in the making and it will be released in 2024 on Disney+ Hotstar. The new adaptation of Mahabharat will be produced by Madhu Mantena, Mythoverse Studios and Allu Entertainment. The mythology epic talks about the conflict between the Kauravas and the Paṇḍavas and their fight in Kurukshetra for the throne.
Announcing the project at Disney’s three-day D23 extravaganza event at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, Gaurav Banerjee, head of content at Disney+ Hotstar, said that over a billion people in India are aware of the story in some form and most of them have grown up listening to the tales as a child. However, there are a billion others who are unaware of the epic. “It would indeed be a privilege to be able to bring this incredible story to a wider global audience next year,” Banerjee said.
Disney’s announcements come at a time when streaming platforms are under pressure from investors to show they can buck the downward trend in subscriber growth that has impacted giants like Netflix.
Mythology has always been a big draw on Indian television. Even a rerun of the 1980s production of the epic ‘Ramayana’ surprisingly attracted a huge number of viewers in India during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The announcement of Mahabharata on Disney+ Hotstar is a move to extend this success into the world of online streaming,” Bloomberg quoted Mihir Shah, vice president at consultancy Media Partners Asia, as saying.
Despite several attempts to recreate the epic on the small screen, the BR Chopra version of Mahabharata that aired on Doordarshan between 1988 and 1990, remains the most popular one so far. It has 94 episodes as compared with Ramayana’s 78 episodes.
In 2013, Siddharth Kumar Tewary recreated the epic for television, featuring Shaheer Sheikh, Saurabh Raj Jain and Pooja Sharma.
An animation video adaptation of the popular epic was also created by filmmaker Amaan Khan in 2013. The animation film was released in December 2013 and the cast ensemble included many big names of like Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee, Sunny Deol and Vidya Balan. Bollywood veterans like Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Anupam Kher, Dipti Naval also lent their voices to different characters.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that SS Rajamouli, the director of Bahubali movies, was also planning to make a cinematic version of the Mahabharata.
Meanwhile, Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan reacted to the news of the new adaptation of the epic. Sharing pictures of the Mahabharat concept art released by Disney+ Hotstar, Hrithik Roshan congratulated Madhu Mantena and wrote, “If there ever was a time and place to take India's tradition of epic storytelling to a global audience, #MahabharatOnHotstar at the #D23Expo2022 is it! What a start to this magnum opus unveiling by @DisneyPlusHS- Congratulations and more power to Madhu Mantena and team!”
Apart from this, Disney+ Hotstar also announced other upcoming Indian projects, including Koffee With Karan season 8 and a new series, titled Showtime.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: Sept 13, 2022 3:50 PM IST