Shani is the Lord of Saturday; the word Shani also denotes the seventh day or Saturday in most Indian languages. Shani is also known as Shanaischarya, Shani Bhagavan, Shaneesvara and Shani Dev.
Shani is the son of Surya (the Sun God) and his wife Chhaya (Shadow goddess) and hence also known as Chayyaputra. He is the cousin of Yama , the Hindu God of death. Shani is described as having a dark complexion, holding a sword, arrows, two daggers mounted on a Black vulture or a raven or sometimes a crow.
Shani is said to be older in age and that is why He is looked upon as an old man. After listening to the birth story of Shani, Vikramaditya laughed and ridiculed him. Shani heard the remarks of Vikramaditya and placed a curse on him. The story goes on to describe Vikramaditya’s difficulties as a result of offending Shani. He loses his kingdom, he is accused stealing and his hands and legs are cut-off by a neighboring king.
Eventually, Vikramaditya prays to Shani, who is satisfied with Vikramaditya’s devotion and brings him back to his former glory.
Shani Mahatyam stresses values such as perseverance in difficult times, complete devotion (bhakti) and faith in the values one believes in, and never to lose confidence in life in spite of difficulties. He is known as the greatest teacher.
Shani Dev is said to be very harmful to those who follow the path of betrayal, backstabbing and unjust revenge. He is known in Hindu scriptures as the greatest trouble giver as well as the greatest well wisher. Practically everyone is aware that Shani brings upon every one, a period of bad luck (Sadhe Saati). Only a few know that Shani has been given the portfolio of Justice just as Sun has been given the portfolio of Fame and Jupiter of Health and Venus of Love and Luxury.
Most people have certain egos or complexes in them, which Shani does not like and so he crushes that entirely and makes the person much more humble and malleable. Of course, most people don’t like it and resist it and so they think that Shani is a horrible and evil planet with a negative influence but Shani only brings their own doings in front of them. Therefore, Shani is also a very spiritual planet because it makes people more honest and sincere and removes their vices whatever they might be.
Shani worshippers are able to develop an immense feeling of love and devotion towards Him. They are able to overcome great obstacles in their lives by praying to Shani. They are able to develop mystical powers and “Siddhis” which Shani is able to bestow and hence acquire a heightened sense of intuition. If one can make friends with Shani and get Him to be pleased then nothing can hold one back because in a way, the person has made friends with the darkness, shadows and obstacles that could come in one’s way and then there is only light and happiness.
That means one is ready to face up the dark side of life and not be afraid of anything. The viewer will draw his own conclusions and inferences, matching the on-screen experiences with his own experiences if he ever had Shani’s impact in his life. But the objective is to subtly educate the viewer about the misunderstandings of Shani and answer the questions in his mind about Shani, the most dreaded and respected of the nine planets. This serial gave all inside information of Shanidev and removed all the myths about the Shani dev. The starting story of “Mahima Shanidev ki” is about King Vikramaditya and his life. Then it went onto the mythological stories of Shani dev. Later on, it went onto the formation of the Shani Singdapur temple in Maharastra, and folk tales associated with that area.
Year of Telecast: Mahima Shani Dev Ki is being telecasted on NDTV imagine since 26 th July 2008. Initial the show was telecasted as Friday, Saturday and Sunday as a half-hour weekend show. Then it became a weekly one hour 8-9PM on Saturday.
Direction and Casting:Mahima Shani Dev Ki is directed by Prem Sagar and produced by Sagar Arts and creative producer was Shiv Sagar.
Daya Shanker Pandey known for his roles in Lagaan etc. movies is playing the role of Shanidev, Saumik Rao as King Vikramaditya and Namrata Thapa as Queen Madenlekha (wife of Vikramaditya).
Audience reaction: The show brought up a revolution in thought and changed the perception of Shani in the common man’s mind. Previously all shows that were made on the subject, had a negative casting of the character that played Shani Dev. For the first time, a positive casting for done for the character and Shani Dev was portrayed in a good light.
The show created a craze for Shani worship in the country, and the number of temples dedicated to the Vedic deity went up from 40 to 400 during the telecast of the show as quoted by article by Mumbai Mirror newspaper.
The TRP’s of the show remained constant and it continued to be the number 2,3 show on the channel NDTV Imagine through out its telecast. It even reached the 2 TVR rating which was excellent for a weekend show. The repeat telecasts of the show on Dangal channel in 2019-20 made it the number one show in the country as per ratings and made Dangal Channel the top channels in the country.