“It is in literature that the concrete outlook of humanity receives its expression.” — Alfred North Whitehead
A story, a poem, an epic, an overtone of drama, a societal master, ‘The Mahabharata’ is literature at its best with scriptures dating back to 400 BCE, yet the most contemporary piece of melodrama which resonates in societies across the world. This 1.8 Million word epic poem encapsulates the socio-politico-cultural nature of the human mind ever since existence with a frame tale narrative to intrigue and fascinate one and all.
Although, this magnum opus has taken different forms and adaptations, the silver screen hasn’t witnessed the grandeur and depth the epic could radiate. This article transpires out of disappointment, and hope, that this story which has shaped societies for thousands of years will soon take the form of the celluloid to inspire another million years.
This list could have conflicting opinions and multiple combinations, but it arises with my subjective dream to see actors from different industries together on the screen.
Here’s the list of 15 Indian actors who should be cast if ‘The Mahabharata’ is made into a film.
15. S.S Rajamouli as Vyasa
Vyasa, known to be the author and chronicler of this legendary epic, plays a significant part in the story as the forefather of ‘The Pandavas’ and ‘The Kauravas’. With Vyasa, the dawn of a bloodline and kingdom so powerful arose, naturally a similar persona of this century has to be casted, who better than S.S Rajamouli, the cinematic genius of the 21st century who has directed the best war movies of Indian cinema yet. It would be lovely to see him play this part.
Also we’d like him to don the hat of the all important ‘Director’ of this dream project.
14. Sudeep as Dushasana
The darkest of characters within the Mahabharata, this Kaurava prince, brother of Duryodhana and the 2nd son of the blind king Dhritarashtra, is famous for pioneering the most heinous act of disrobing Draupadi of her clothes in the courtroom.This monumental scene demands the prowess of an extraordinary performer and Sandalwood powerhouse Sudeep who enthralled us in the fantasy ‘Eega’ would be a perfect fit for this villainous role.
13. Irrfan Khan as Vidura
Vidura, the 3rd son of Vyasa, the uncle of the Pandavas and the Kauravas represents wisdom in ‘The Mahabharata’ and also administers as the Prime Minister of the kingdom of Hastinapur. Krishna adjudged him as ‘Dharmaraja’, which means the lord of truth. To essay this role, we believe an actor with intelligence poise and subtlety is most essential, Irrfan Khan would be the ideal choice to play justice to this very important role who is considered to be the embodiment of the inner consciousness of ‘The Mahabharata’.
12. Nassar as Shakuni
The wily and deceitful villainous mastermind of the plot, ‘Shakuni’ is the maternal uncle of Duryodhana and the Kauravas, who emerges to be the sole winner of the battle of ‘Kurukshetra’ in his ploy to avenge his family’s suffering at the hands of ‘Bheeshma’ and the Kuru clan. Nassar, an exceptional performer who lives every character he portrays with utmost perfection, showed his brilliance as ‘Bijjaladeva’ in a similar role, and we are convinced that this true artist will up the ante for this all important negative performance.
11. Naseeruddin Shah as Dronacharya
The most popular reference to a teacher in our literature, the ‘guru’ of military arts and archery to the Kuru princes, widely known to possess traits of grey such as being partial to his favourite student, ‘Arjuna’ and the injustice meted to ‘Abhimanyu’ during the course of the battle of Kurukshetra. In modern times, India’s most prominent and versatile theatre artist, Naseeruddin Shah is the apt choice for a multi-layered character which needs great elan and gusto on screen.