• Veterinary Surgeon Rediff
|Famous Role||“Lord Krishna” in B. R. Chopra’s television series “Mahabharat” (1988)
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters– 183 cm
in meters– 1.83 m
in feet & inches– 6’
|Eye Colour||Hazel Brown|
|Debut||Hindi Film: Trishagni (1988)
Malayalam Film: Njan Gandharvan (1991)
Marathi Film: Khatyal Sasu Nathal Sun (1987)
TV: Mahabharat (1988)
Writer-Director: Pitru Roon (2013); Marathi Film
|Awards, Honours, Achievements||For his Marathi film Pitru Roon (2013)
• Screen Awards for Best Director in 2014
|Party||Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (1995 – 2007) Rediff
|Political Journey||• He contested the 1996 Lok Sabha Elections from two seats – Jamshedpur and Rajgarh; he won the Jamshedpur seat but lost the Rajgarh seat.
• He lost the 1999 Lok Sabha Elections to Laxman Singh (brother of then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijaya Singh).
|Date of Birth||2 June 1963 (Sunday)|
|Age (as of 2021)||58 Years|
|School||• Gokhle Education Society’s DGT High School, Mumbai
• Robert Money School, Proctor Road, Mumbai
|College||• Bombay Veterinary College, Mumbai
• Wilson College, Chowpatty, Mumbai
|Educational Qualification Linkedin||• Bachelor of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry from Bombay Veterinary College (1979 – 1983)
• B.Sc. from Wilson College (1977 – 1979)
|Food Habit||Vegetarian Filmfare|
|Hobbies||Doing Yoga and Meditation, Reading, Travelling, Listening to Music|
|Relationships & More|
|Marriage Date||First Marriage: 27 December 1991 Mumbai Mirror
Second Marriage: Year 2009
|Wife/Spouse||First Wife: Monisha Patil (daughter of Vimla Patil, then editor of Femina) (m. 1991; div. 2005)
Second Wife: Smita Gate (an IAS officer) (m. 2009; div. 2022); it was Smita’s second marriage too. Mumbai Mirror
|Children||• He has a son and a daughter from his first wife, Monisha Patil, both live with Monisha in London. Mumbai Mirror
• He has twin daughters Devyani and Shivranjani from his second wife, Smita Gate. Filmfare
|Parents||Father– Janardan C. Upadhyay (a Senior Advocate of Bombay High Court and a veteran labour lawyer)
Mother– Sadhana Upadhyay (she was the Head of Marathi Literature Department in Wilson College, Mumbai)
|Scripture||Bhagwad Gita News Bharati|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Nitish Bharadwaj
- Nitish Bharadwaj is one of the most recognizable characters on the Indian television where he portrayed Lord Krishna in B. R. Chopra’s epic television serial Mahabharat in the late ’80s.
- The character of Lord Krishna made him an overnight star and people would touch his feet wherever he went.
- Nitish Bharadwaj had a middle-class upbringing in Mumbai. His late father, Janardan C. Upadhyay, belonged to a priestly family and was an eminent lawyer in Mumbai. his father was also a close aide of George Fernandes in the labour movement in the ’60s and ’70s.
- His upbringing was enriched by the knowledge of scriptures; as his late mother, Sadhana Upadhyay was very close to classical music and Marathi literature. She also had her own library at home, which gave Nitish an opportunity to read lots of books, and before getting the role of Lord Krishna in B. R. Chopra’s Mahabharat, he had already read a lot of literature on Krishna. His mother’s demise had a traumatic effect on Nitish, and in an interview, while talking about his mother, he said,
My mother was trained in classical music. She was also a professor of Marathi literature. She had acquired a PhD in Dnyaneshwari (a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita). On her death bed, she said, I’ve fulfilled all my duties as a wife, mother and person. Don’t waste your time, energy, money on rituals after I am gone.”
- When he was in school, he got the opportunity to visit several film sets; as one of his neighbours was from the FTII who would often take him to Filmistan, Filmalaya, and RK Studio.
- In an interview, he revealed that during his school days, he saw Meenakshi Seshadri‘s shoot of Painter Babu, and later, when he got the opportunity to work opposite her in the 1989 Bollywood film ‘Nache Nagin Gali Gali,’ he told Meenakshi about the shoot he had seen, and Meenakshi was shocked on his details about the shoot. Rediff
- Before coming into the field of acting, he was a professional veterinary surgeon and had worked as an assistant veterinarian at a racecourse in Mumbai; however, he left the job considering it a monotonous one. While talking about it, he says,
Everyone in my family wanted me to become a doctor. I did not want to become a human doctor so I became a veterinary surgeon because I love horses and tigers.”
- He was inclined towards acting since his college days when he acted and directed many plays. He also trained in a Mumbai-based children’s theatre organisation called Little Theatre at the time. In an interview, while talking about his passion for acting in those days, he said,
In the acting sphere, every new play gave me something to do and you find yourself after every new project. I decided one day that this is my passion and want to live this for the rest of my life.”
- In an interview, he revealed that initially, his father was very sceptical about his choice of making a career in acting; as he thought that such professions needed a godfather in the industry.
- Nitish Bharadwaj’s acting career started in Marathi theatres where he met the well-known Indian actor Ravi Baswani who urged him to join Hindi theatre and took him to Dinesh Thakur who inducted Nitish into his group called ‘Ankh.’
- Apart from doing plays, Nitish also became an announcer and newsreader for Bombay Doordarshan.
- Before Mahabharat happened, he had already made his debut in the Marathi film “Khatyal Sasu Nathal Sun” in 1987 with Varsha Usgaonkar. He had also made his debut in the Hindi film “Trishagni” in 1988.
- He had actually auditioned for the role of Vidhur in B. R.Chopra’s Mahabharat, but he didn’t fit in the role; as he was just 23 at the time, and the character demanded an old man in most of the episodes. Later, he was offered the roles of Nakul and Sahdev, but he didn’t accept them, and when he was finally offered the role of Lord Krishna, he had refused that too. While talking about how he landed the role of Lord Krishna, he says,
B R Chopra, Ravi Chopra, (screenplay writer) Pandit Narendra Sharma and (dialogue writer) Rahi Masoom Raza were not happy with whoever they had chosen to play Krishna. Raviji had already done two or three ads with me, like the Philips transistor and Allwyn watches, along with Govinda and he knew me as an actor. Even Gufi (Gufi Paintal who played Shakuni mama in Mahabharat) knew me as an actor, so they called me for another audition for Krishna.” Rediff
- While talking about his reservations to accept the role of Krishna, he says,
I had reservations about myself as I was too young to play Krishna, who was the fulcrum of the whole story.”
- When Nitish was finally in for the role of Lord Krishna in Mahabharat, B. R, Chopra told him –
You are the fulcrum of the serial. If you fail, I fail.”
- In the first eight episodes of Mahabharat, his role didn’t receive much appreciation from the viewers, and after the first episode went on air, B. R. Chopra called him and said,
- It was from the ‘Subhadra Haran’ episode (the episode where Krishna helps Arjun kidnap his lady love Subhadra) that the role of Lord Krishna had started catching the eyes of viewers, and the rest is history.
- His portrayal of Lord Krishna in Mahabharat became so phenomenal that it had become a sensation everywhere, be it the megacities, towns, or villages. Wherever Nitish went, people would touch his feet, just like they had been touching the feet of Sudhir Dalvi from the film ‘Shirdi Ke Sai Baba’ and Arun Govil from Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan. Many girls had even started sending him marriage proposals. On this phenomenon, he says,
I was not sure how to deal with it. I knew I had to have humility and faith. I had to respect the person who was touching my feet. I never let that go to my head.”
- After Mahabharat, many people from the corporate sector had even started offering him money to wear the costume of Lord Krishna and bless the people at their corporate functions. However, he mostly declined such offers, he says,
I found this funny and declined all those monetary offers as it would degrade Krishna’s character.”
- He gives credit to all the crew of Mahabharat for his success and says –
I constantly tell myself that the lasting impact of my work is 75% due to Dr. Rahi Masoom Raza’s dialogues, Chopra Ji’s vision & Raviji’s execution of that vision. My credit as an actor is just about 25%.”
- After Mahabharat, he appeared in a few more mythological television shows, including Vishnu Puran (2003) and Ramayan (2003) in which he played the role of Ram opposite Smriti Irani who portrayed Sita.
- Although he did a couple of films after Mahabharat, they didn’t do well at the box office, and contrary to his parents’ views, he left India and went to London; after getting married to his first wife, Monisha Patil. However, he still regrets that decision and says,
I blame only myself for whatever happened in my life. I was too young and didn’t listen to my parents. I got married and went to London.”
- While in London, Nitish did many French theatres in English. He also did many programmes on Bhagwad Gita and Ramayan for Radio 4.
- After his four years of stay in London, he returned to India in 1995 and came into active politics; after joining the BJP, thus, he joined the league of other actors who had played mythological roles and tried their hands in politics, like Deepika Chikhalia and Arvind Trivedi who portrayed ‘Sita’ and ‘Ravan’ in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan, respectively. He won the Lok Sabha elections from Jamshedpur in 1996. However, later he withdrew from politics; as he didn’t consider himself suitable in the profession. He says,
- After quitting politics, he started focusing on cinema and directed many TV shows and documentaries.
- In 2002, he co-authored a book titled “In Quest of God – a journey to Kailash Mansarovar.”
- Between 2004 and 2005, he held the post of the Chairman of the Board of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. Linkedin
- After his comeback, he appeared in a few popular Bollywood films, such as Mohenjo Daro (2016) in which he appeared alongside Hrithik Roshan and Kedarnath (2018) in which he played the role of Sara Ali Khan‘s father – Pandit Brijraj Mishra or simply Panditji.
- He remains very active on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and has also started a YouTube channel where he interacts with his fans.
- Nitish is very close to nature and loves Forest, Tiger, Horse, and Peacock. He also owns a small organic farm in Khadakwasla, on the outskirts of Pune. While talking about it, he says,
It is fully organic, and not even a spoon of inorganic chemical fertilizers would go into that area. I want to eat and breathe healthy. It’s a beautiful location overlooking the backwaters of a dam. I want to meditate over there, want to spend some time there writing my scripts. It’s like actually going to my childhood. Haath mitti mein daalna chahta hun (I want to put my hands in the soil). I want to create my own heaven there. I want to see those plants growing.”
- In March 2020, he re-lived the sheer nostalgia when B. R. Chopra’s Mahabharat was re-telecast on Doordarshan amidst the nationwide lockdown in the wake of Corona pandemic.