Ekta Kapoor seems to be leaving no stone unturned to get the cast and crew for her Kahaani Hamaarey Mahaabhaarat Ki on 9X. First it was the talent hunt for Krishna in which babies born on Janmasthami were allowed to participate. And now it is the screen tests she conducted for a number of actors to select the right ones for the serial. And she does have an army of actors from different professions for her serial. Case in point is Yudhisthir (played by Uma Shankar) who left a flourishing practice in psychology to act in the serial.
Believe it or not, that is what the clinical psychologist (who is also an NSD pass out) did. “Actually, I was always interested in acting. I hail from Uttarakhand and came to Mumbai in 2001 to make a career in acting, after passing out from National School of Drama. But nothing clicked for me in Bollywood and I had to be content with commercials”, says the actor whose Kelvinator, Centurion Bank and Kinetic bike commercials became popular. Later, the lad opened a chamber in the plush suburbs of Bandra in Mumbai and resumed his medical practice.
When he read about Ekta Kapoor doing a Mahabharata, he promptly went to the Balaji office and wanted to participate in the auditions. Thankfully, the staff allowed him and he got selected. “I was initially offered the role of Chitrangad and then Parashuram. But since I was looking for something bigger, I declined both. Then few days later, I got a call from Balaji informing me that I had been selected for the role of Yudhisthir. Needless to say, I was thrilled!”, recollects Uma.
The actor is all praise for the look that Manish Malhotra has designed for the cast. “It changes the perception of Indian mythological looks completely and is extremely smart. I think this is one of the main differentiating factors of this serial. I also had to undergo a change in look and had to grow a beard for the serial! For me, working with the entire cast and crew of this show has been a great experience. The way Ekta has been guiding me or Mr Shantaram (the director) has been leading us is amazing”.
Uma has just come back from a shoot in Jaipur for the serial and hopes this will become one of the path breaking serials in the Indian television industry.
Reporter and Author: Srabanti Chakrabarti