|Famous Role(s)||• "Bhishma Pitamah" in B. R. Chopra's "Mahabharat" (1988)
• "Shaktimaan" in the television show "Shaktimaan"
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 185 cm
in meters- 1.85 m
in feet & inches- 6’ 1”
|Hair Colour||Salt & Pepper|
|Debut||Hindi Film: Roohi (1981)
Telugu Film: Dhana 51 (2005)
Marathi Film: Ardha Gangu Ardha Gondya (2014)
Malayalam Film: Rajadhi Raja (2014)
TV: Mahabharat (1988)
|Party||Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (1998-present) Business Standard
|Date of Birth||19 June 1958 (Thursday)|
|Age (as of 2021)||63 Years|
|School||He studied from the same school where Shakti Kapoor and Naseeruddin Shah had studied.|
|College/University||• St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai Dainik Bhaskar
• Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune
|Educational Qualifications The Democratic Buzzer||• B.Sc.
• Master of Laws
• An acting course from the FTII
|Controversy||When Shaktimaan was aired on television, it started receiving reports from across the country that show was somewhat harmful to children; as they were trying to emulate Shaktimaan's heroic antics and getting themselves injured in the process; leading to their deaths in some cases. Mukesh Khanna had to clarify the issue in one of the episodes of Shaktimaan. He said, "I feel very strongly about the well-being of children. So, in one of the episodes, we show how Shaktimaan is made, how everything’s done on the computer, how he can’t fly. He dangles from a rope.” Outlook|
|Relationships & More|
|Affairs/Girlfriends||Reportedly, he has never been in any relations with a woman. The Democratic Buzzer|
|Parents||Names Not Known|
|Siblings||Brother- Ved Khanna (elder; actor & producer); died in 2018
Sister- Kamal Kapoor (elder); died of lung disease after recovering from COVID-19 a few days earlier
|Actor(s)||Clint Eastwood, Dilip Kumar|
|Politician(s)||Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narendra Modi|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Mukesh Khanna
- Mukesh Khanna is one of the most recognizable faces of Indian television and is best known for portraying ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ in B. R.Chopra’s epic television show Mahabharat and giving India its first on-screen superhero ‘Shaktimaan.’
- Mukesh Khanna had a middle-class upbringing in Mumbai.
- After his schooling, he pursued graduation in science. Before getting himself enrolled in Master of Laws, he wanted to do Plastic Engineering. Dainik Bhaskar
- After attaining his Master of Laws, he went to the Film and Television Institute of India (Pune) where he did an acting course.
- After his debut with the 1981 Hindi film ‘Roohi,’ Khanna went on to appear in more than 60 Bollywood films in his career.
- Reportedly, his first break in films was given by the theatre director Narinder Bedi in his film ‘Khooni.’ However, after the sudden demise of Bedi, the film got shelved. Dainik Bhaskar
- Besides giving many flops in his film career, he has appeared in a few successful films too, such as Saudagar (1991), Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), Barsaat (1995), Raja (1995), and Hera Pheri (2000) in which he played the role of ‘Police Inspector Prakash.’
- Although he didn’t get the desired success in films, it was the television where he reached the pinnacle of success, especially with B. R.Chopra’s Mahabharat and Shaktimaan.
- It was Mahabharat that established him as a bankable actor in the Indian television industry.
- Reportedly, before ‘Bhishma Pitamah,’ he was offered the role of ‘Duryodhan’ in Mahabharat. However, he refused the offer; owing to his decision not to do a negative role in his career. Subsequently, he was offered the role of ‘Dronacharya’ and eventually, he landed the role of “Bhishma Pitamah.” In an interview, Khanna explained how he got the role of Pitamah, he said,
When they were looking for people for the series all they wanted were tall people so I got noticed for that. They offered me the role of “Duryodhana” but it was a negative role and I refused it. So I got landed with Bhishma Pitamah.”
- Bhishma Pitamah’s role went on to become the second most popular character from B. R. Chopra’s Mahabharat after Lord Krishna, which was played by Nitish Bharadwaj.
- Reportedly, Khanna was just 30 years old when he played the role of Pitamah in Mahabharat. Dainik Bhaskar
- Initially, Khanna wasn’t interested in Pitamah’s role, rather he wanted to portray either Arjuna or Karna in Mahabharat. Dainik Bhaskar
- He was so dedicated towards the role of “Bhishma Pitamah” that when Pitamah made the vow of celibacy on-screen, Mukesh Khanna actually vowed not to marry and have any relations with a woman whatsoever.
- When Shaktimaan came in 1997, it made him even popular in India. Shaktimaan had become a sensation in India when it aired from 27 September 1997 to 27 March 2005 on Doordarshan. The craze for the show was such that children used to get stick to their television sets during its running time; many children even used to bunk their classes to watch the heroic antics of Shaktimaan.
- Shaktimaan had nit just become a source of entertainment to children, but it was also like a moral guide to them; as many children had started going to school regularly or drink milk every day on Shaktimaan’s advise. Khanna says,
Shaktimaan had a charisma and wanted to make a difference to the society. I remember many parents telling me that their kids had started drinking milk or going to school regularly after watching the show.”
- Within the first fifteen episodes of Shaktimaan, it had become one of the most popular shows in India, and according to Khanna, he used to get more than 50,000 letters from the audience every week.
- Skatimaan was an instant hit, and wherever Khanna went, children would often gather and request him to show his heroic antics, especially the torpedo flying.
- Riding high on the success of Shaktimaan, Khanna went on to make a telefilm titled “Hamara Hero Shaktimaan,” which aired on 30 June 2013 on the children’s channel Pogo.
- Shaktimaan’s popularity had even crossed the border, and its stories were featured in many international tabloids, including The Wall Street Journal.
- In the Shaktimaan franchise, there is also an animated action series titled “Shaktimaan: The Animated Series.” It was created by Reliance Animation, and it aired on Sonic on 20 December 2011; eventually, the rights of this series were acquired by Discovery Kids from Reliance Entertainment in 2017.
- Apart from Shaktimaan and Mahabharat, Mukesh Khanna has many more popular television shows to his name, including “Chandrakanta” (1994-1997) in which he played the role of Janbaaz/Meghawat and “Aryamaan – Brahmaand Ka Yodha” (2002-2003) in which he played the role of Aryamaan/Ojwan.
- Khanna has also produced a few television projects, such as Mahayodha, Shaktimaan, Aryamaan – Brahmaand Ka Yodha, Sautela, and Hamara Hero Shaktimaan.
- Besides being an actor, he is also a politician and after joining the BJP in 1998, he has campaigned for it in various elections across the nation.
- Although he considers Narendra Modi as one of his favourite politicians, in February 2015, Khanna criticized Modi for not including him in his Ganga cleaning campaign. India Today
- Even after being a staunch BJP supporter, during the 2014 Liks Sabha Elections, he campaigned for the National Conference (NC) in Vaijaypur, Jammu. Hindustan Times
- In an interview, when asked what he was thinking about the current breed of historical television dramas, he termed all of them “ridiculous.” He said,
Such dirty tricks with the history of India in order to gain TRP must be stopped, either through the Censor board, or an independent authority that oversees the television programming.” India Today
- Mukesh Khanna has vowed never to do a negative role on screen. He says,
I will never do negative and weak roles because I feel I am responsible towards my audience. Morals are very important to me and I take my roles very seriously and the image I project even more so. If I do a negative role I believe I am sending out a clear message to a guy living in a chawl or ‘Rae Bareily’ that even he can be bad. I strongly feel that heroes should not do negative roles as people think that if a hero like xyz can do it why can’t he. They can deny their responsibilities towards moral obligations but I feel that’s wrong because ‘showbizz or no biz’ we all are answerable for the message we give out as they have strong impact. See even Manmohan Desai offered me a negative role right after ‘Pitamaha’ but I just didn’t want to do it, as negativism is not in me. I can’t do something which I don’t have the capacity to do, and I anyway want to come on screen as a strong person.”
- He is such a man of principle that he advocated the same in his real-life what he plays on-screen; a testimony of this is the fact that he has never smoked or consumed alcohol in his life. Once when Shah Rukh Khan said that his film Ra.One was going to give India it’s first superhero, Khanna bashed him for his smoking habit and said,
- In April 2015, Mukesh Khanna was appointed the Chairman of Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI) by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. However, in February 2018, Mr. Khanna resigned from the post. Times of India
- He also owns a production company “Bheeshma Productions” and runs acting schools in Mumbai, Jaipur, Agra, and Chandigarh. Hindustan Times
- When Ramanand Sagar‘s Ramayan and B. R. Chopra’s Mahabharat re-telecast on Doordarshan amid the nationwide lockdown in wake of Corona outbreak in March 2020, Mukesh Khanna took a dig at Sonakshi Sinha and said,
I think the reruns will be useful to many who haven’t watched the show earlier. It will also help people like Sonakshi Sinha who have no knowledge about our mythological sagas. People like her don’t know who did lord Hunuman get Sanjivani for. There is a video doing the rounds where few boys are asked whose Mama (uncle) was Kans and they got scared to answer. Some said Duryodhan, others said something else, so they are not aware of the mythology.” Hindustan Times