Mahabharat is a 2013 Indian computer animated historical drama film, directed by Amaan Khan and based on the Hindu epic of the same name. The film is produced by Kushal Kantilal Gada and Dhaval Jayantilal Gada. The film was a Christmas release on 27 December 2013. Several actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Vidya Balan, Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Manoj Bajpayee, Deepti Naval have been signed up for the characters in the film. Mahabharat is touted as most expensive animated film in Bollywood.
Ajay Devgan as Arjuna
Amitabh Bachchan as Bhishma
Shatrughan Sinha as Krishna
Sunny Deol as Bhima
Anil Kapoor as Karna
Vidya Balan as Draupadi
Manoj Bajpayee as Yudhishthira
Anupam Kher as Shakuni
Deepti Naval as Kunti
Jackie Shroff as Duryodhana
Vrajesh Hirjee as Dushasana
Chandrakant Nayak as Dhritarashtra
Amitabh Bachchan lent his baritone voice and sombre expressions to Bheeshma Pitamah, which coincidentally is the first time he dubbed for an animated character in his 44-year film career since 1969. Anil Kapoor took 15 days to complete his work while Manoj Bajpayee finished the dubbing for his character in just four days in Future Works Studio in Andheri, Mumbai. The trailer of the film was unveiled on 16 November 2013. Besides the launch of the trailer there were three audiovisuals that introduced the animated characters of Balan, Kapoor and Devgn. Jackie Shroff lent his voice for Duryodhan. Lord Krishna's voice is dubbed by Shatrughan Sinha. None of the A-listers charged any remuneration for lending their voices to the characters in the film. Film producers gave Shatrughan Sinha an option to choose any of the roles to lend his voice to. Sinha selected the role of Krishna. Mahabharat has an insurance cover of Rs 50 crore,thus becoming the highest insured Bollywood production film, beating My Name Is Khan (2010), which was insured for Rs 46 crore.
The film received mixed reviews. Subhash K. Jha said, "If you were hoping that animation films would come of age with this purported epic, you are in for a disappointment. Though the characters from the Mahabharat have faces and voices of the biggest stars, the images do not add up to a compelling canvas. Not by a wide margin." India TV said, "The presentation is epic in intent, yes. Alas, the execution, packaging and projection leave the epic undernourished and over-emphasized." and rated it 2 out of 5 stars.
Meena Iyer of The Times of India rated it three and half out of five, saying "Amitabh Bachchan's bartitone is used for the stellar Bheeshma Pitamah. Although the Big B doesn't have muscular arms like his animated counterpart, their faces match. A superlative list of actors like Ajay Devgn (Arjun), Manoj Bajpayee (Yudhisthir), Sunny Deol (Bheem), Anil Kapoor (Karan), Jackie Shroff (Duryodhan), Anupam Kher (Shakuni) and Vidya Balan (Draupadi) have also infused life into the computer generated characters with their inimitable voices." and concluded, "On the flip side, the animation effort itself is immature and several notches below those of Hollywood films. Yet the dub effort by the Bollywood superstars uplifts this epic, making it enjoyable."
Deepanjana Pal of Firstpost said, "The artwork in Mahabharat is appalling and the animation is worse. From the movements of the characters to the visual effects - like two arrows going at each other - it looks like a pirated and outdated version of MS Paint was used to create the film." and added, "The movements of the characters are awkward and jerky, making it look like the mythical heroes learned how to walk from Godzilla. The battle scenes are not only badly drawn and animated, they're also boring." and concluded, "This new Mahabharata isn't so much a kid-friendly version as one made for dummies, by dummies."
Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama rated the film 3 out of 5 stars, saying "The USP of Mahabharat is that the characters in the film bear a strong resemblance to the actors lending them their voices. The film should work for two more reasons: the riveting story and the superior quality animation [a handful of scenes notwithstanding]. Besides, minute detailing has gone into the costumes, effects and the overall look." and concluded, "The one flaw that stands out is the lip sync of the characters with the voiceovers, which seems to go out of place in a few sequences.".
Mahabharat grossed Rs 1.5 crore from 185 screens in domestic circuit in the first weekend. It was named a disaster by Box Office India