What Are the Stars of ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’ Up to Today?

‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’ were the most watched TV shows during the 80’s.

4 min read
(Photo Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)

Much of India was hooked to Ramayana and Mahabharata, the first major television shows based on the original epics to be telecast during the 80’s, when cable connection wasn’t a thing.

Later television series directors like Ekta Kapoor attempted at a remake, but the original television series had left so much impact on its audience that the remakes mostly turned out to be flops.

Now the director of Baahubali, SS Rajamouly, has accepted the challenge to recreate Mahabharata again, with a budget of Rs 1,000 crore. Some popular stars are also eager to play the roles of Krishna, Arjun.

One can’t point out what exactly it is with these epic series, but despite their poor graphics, Arun Govil and Deepika made quite a mark in playing characters of Ram and Sita – even Nitish Bharadwaj who played the character of Krishna.

The stars have over the time lost their popularity on television, but we wonder what they are up to today.

Nitish Bharadwaj

Nitish Bharadwaj as Krishna in ‘Mahabharata’. (Photo Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)
Nitish Bharadwaj as Krishna in ‘Mahabharata’. (Photo Altered by The Quint)

Nitish Bharadwaj's portrayal of Krishna in Mahabharata had such an impact on its viewers that it earned him worshippers. People used to wait for hours to catch a glimpse of him at his shoot locations. Even calendars were printed with Bharadwaj donning the Krishna costume.

After Mahabharata, Nitish featured in almost 10 Marathi and one Malayalam films. Meanwhile, he went to London for few years where he was part of an English drama. Eventually, he decided to join politics and became a BJP member. In 1999, he won the Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket and became a Member of Parliament. But soon left politics as he realised it was not his forte.

After a gap of many years, Nitish was seen in a Bollywood movie in 2016. He played the role of Hrithik Roshan’s uncle ‘Duryajan’ in Ashutosh Gowariker’s film Mohanjo Daro.


Arun Govil

Arun Govil as Ram in ‘Ramayana’. (Photo Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)
Arun Govil as Ram in ‘Ramayana’. (Photo Altered by The Quint)

Arun Govil started his acting career in 1977 with film Paheli. But he earned all the fame after he started playing the character of Ram in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana. One can say that Arun Govil immortalised the character of Ram. Soon people started considering him as Lord Ram and touching his feet in veneration.

Arun now runs a production house in Mumbai which makes TV soaps for Doordarshan.


Deepika Chikhalia

Deepika Chikhalia as Sita in ‘Ramayana’. (Photo Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)
Deepika Chikhalia as Sita in ‘Ramayana’. (Photo Altered by The Quint)

There were lot of actors who played the character of Sita on TV, but no one could own it the way Deepika Chikhalia did.

She started her Bollywood career with Sun Meri Laila in 1983. She also acted in south Indian movies along with Hindi, but she didn’t get much success.

In 1987, she grabbed the chance to play Sita’s character in Ramayana which earned her a lot of respect and fame.

After Ramayana, she worked in several serials like Vikram Betal, Luv Kush. In 1989, she worked with Rajesh Khanna in movies like Ghar ka Chirag and Khudai.

Enacting the role of Sita made Deepika so popular that in 1991 she won the Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket from Vadodara. But soon after, she quit politics.

Deepika later married a cosmetics company owner and came to be known as Deepika Topiwala. After marriage, she quit her acting career to spend more time with her family. She has two daughters – Nidhi and Juhi. Currently, she is heading the research and marketing team of her husband’s company.


Roopa Ganguly

Roopa Ganguly as Draupadi in ‘Mahabharata’. (Photo Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)
Roopa Ganguly as Draupadi in ‘Mahabharata’. (Photo Altered by The Quint)

Roopa Ganguly’s first film was Sahib (1988) with Anil Kapoor and she had also worked in a Malayalam movie, but she got fame after she played the role of Draupadi.

Draupadi’s character in Mahabharata was such a hit that she was flooded with offers from Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam movie industries. She also won a national award in best female playback singer category for a Bengali film, but later decided to join the BJP in 2015.


Arvind Trivedi

Ramayana’s Ravan (Photo Courtesy: <a href="">Rajasthan Patrika</a>)
Ramayana’s Ravan (Photo Courtesy: Rajasthan Patrika)

Who can forget Arvind as Ravana in Ramayana? Ramanand Sagar had difficulty casting someone for the role of Ravana, but he found the perfect match in Arvind, whose demonic laughter reminded everyone of Ravana.

Although he has worked almost in 250 movies – Hindi and Marathi – yet his wife Mandodri and children are famous as Ravana’s children.

In 1991, he joined the BJP and became a Rajya Sabha MP. He was considered to be very close to senior BJP leader LK Advani and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.


Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar as Bheem in ‘Mahabharata’. (Photo Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)
Praveen Kumar as Bheem in ‘Mahabharata’. (Photo Altered by The Quint)

Remember Bheem? Praveen Kumar, who played this role, was a well-known wrestler and an Arjuna Award winner. Before Mahabharata, he often played negative roles in several movies.

Even today, Praveen is more popular by the name of Bheem.

In 2014, he contested the Lok Sabha election in Delhi on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket, but later switched to the Bharatiya Janta Party.


(This article is translated by Surbhi Sharma. The original article was published on Quint Hindi)

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