Pankaj Dheer Recalls His Role As 'Karna' In Mahabharat, Adds Why He Didn't Bag The Role Of 'Arjun'

Talented actor, Pankaj Dheer recalled his role as 'Karna' in B.R. Chopra's 'Mahabharat' and revealed why he didn't bag the role of 'Arjun' instead.


By Srijony Das Last Updated:


Pankaj Dheer Recalls His Role As 'Karna' In Mahabharat, Adds Why He Didn't Bag The Role Of 'Arjun'

Pankaj Dheer is one of the most talented actors in the television world. Credited as one of the most senior actors, Pankaj rose to fame with his portrayal of the role of the warrior prince, ‘Karna’ in B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat. He aced his role with such finesse that he was not only remembered for his iconic performance, but his pictures in the role began to be used as references in textbooks. Moreover, idols made out of his look also began to be worshipped in many places across India. However, did you know that Pankaj initially desired to take up the role of ‘Arjun’ in the series? Well, read on to know more.

Pankaj Dheer shares why he missed out on the opportunity to play ‘Arjun’ in B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat

In an interaction with Lehren, Pankaj Dheer opened up about being a part of B.R. Chopra’s iconic mythological show, Mahabharat. Although the actor played the role of ‘Karna’, he revealed that initially he was auditioned to play the role of ‘Arjun’. However, despite having aced the audition, he couldn’t finally bag the opportunity, and it was Feroz Khan who ended up playing it. Talking about how he became a misfit for playing ‘Arjun’, Pankaj said:

“When I gave my audition, dialogue writers Rahi Masoom Raza, Bhring Tupkari sahab and Pandit Narendra Sharma ji had a panel together. They all thought that I would suit the role of Arjuna well. We shook hands on that and I signed the contract. Then BR Chopra called me and told me that since I would also have to play the role of Brihannala (the eunuch form of Arjuna) and for that you would need to shave off your moustache. I was like, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ I told him that my face’s balance is such that if I shave off my moustache, I won’t look good. He told me, ‘Are you an actor or what? You are leaving such a big role because of a moustache. I can’t understand this.'”

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Pankaj reveals B.R. Chopra threw him out of the studio, calls bagging the role of ‘Karna’ part of destiny

Continuing further with his narration, Pankaj Dheer mentioned that seeing his stubbornness for not shaving off his moustache, the director, B.R. Chopra got angered and kicked him out of the studio immediately. The actor then added that he roamed around without work for sometime post which he again got a call from Chopra, this time with an opportunity for his role as ‘Karna’. Calling it a part of destiny, he said:

“It was my big stupidity but at that time, I could understand only this much. Chopra sahab told me, ‘Get out of this door and don’t come back.’ He threw me out of his office. My contract was torn and for six months I kept roaming around and doing dubbing. Chopra sir called me again and this is what I call destiny. He asked me if I could do Karna’s role. I asked him, ‘Sir I don’t have to shave off my moustache, right?’ He said no. It was destiny that I got Karna’s role.”

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When Pankaj talked about the preparations he took for essaying ‘Karna’s role

In one of his previous interviews with Top Lead India, Pankaj Dheer opened up on his journey of being a part of such an iconic series of B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat and revealed the kind of preparations he needed to take in order to do justice to the role of ‘Karna’. The actor revealed that back in those days, there was absolutely no reference to look upto for imbibing the traits of the character, except for a small dramatic version of the Mahabharata that was available. Moreover, he mentioned learning all the tricks and behavioural habits using his own intellect and imagination.


What do you think about Pankaj Dheer’s recollections?

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