It is said that one of the hallmarks of a great work of art is its capacity to endure and remain relevant across generations. The other hallmark is an innate trait in the work of art to have universal appeal transcending age groups, geographies, languages and cultures. This is also the definition of a classic.
In the annals of creative expression and storytelling through the medium of Television, the 1991 tele series Chanakya undoubtedly is one such classic. A modern classic. It is not an exaggeration to claim that ever since it was telecast 27 years ago, Chanakya continues to remain the gold standard in making historicals not just for TV but for the big screen as well. The feat accomplished by this work of art has not been equaled till date despite tremendous advances in technology and other related aspects of filmmaking.
The enduring impact and influence of Chanakya is a cultural milestone of sorts. Today, there are 1000s of clips of selected scenes and dialogues from Chanakya on YouTube and elsewhere on social media that continue to be regularly circulated. The series also launched several star careers the most notable of who is Irfan.
Chanakya was telecast between 8 September 1991 through 9 August 1992 and spans 47 episodes. As the title implies, the story of this series revolves around the character, life, and accomplishments of Chanakya or Kautilya or Vishnugupta, one of the world’s pioneering masters of statecraft, politics, and economics who lived in the 3rd century BCE.
To my mind, Chanakya has truly elevated history into a timeless Rasanubhava—a sublime art experience in the finest traditions of Indian aesthetics.
And who better to tell us the full story of how this classic came to be created than its creator himself? It is my great pleasure and honour to be in conversation with Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, the writer and director of Chanakya.
Beginning with this episode, Dr. Dwivedi will take us on a journey back in time and narrate the detailed story of The Making of Chanakya: A Modern Classic.
I am your host Sandeep Balakrishna.