Mahabharatha-Peter brook

Having read the story of Mahabharata before a lot of times, Peter brook’s version comes as a shock to the senses, maybe because I have had a fixed image of the characters and the environment   of the epic. The constant reinforcement of attributes of different characters for example Krishna, who has to have a peacock feather on his head, and has a darkish/ bluish skin tone and Arjun who is also of dark hue ,is completely broken down when one watches this version if the Mahabharata.

To be frank, the fact that a foreign cast is used for enacting characters who are thoroughly Indian, takes one by surprise . One takes time to get used to seeing great characters in the epic in the form of actors who dont have any Indian physical features. The cast comprises of all the races, caucasian, africans, mongoloids , but there are hardly any Indian actors, with a few exceptions.

The movie start with a boy moving amongst diyaas, and ends up meeting sage vyassa, who then asks for a  pen.The storytelling is constantly shifting between the present and the story of the epic. In one scene it was surprising to watch the chirpy  ganesha remove his mask  and go off to sleep.

This version though does expose one to one of the different adaptations of the epic .

‘Mahabharata,’ Peter Brook


The Indian epic Mahabharata has been interpreted in numerous ways over time. One of the most unusual and eccentric interpretations that I have come across is Peter Brook’s version.

For years now, films are made on ‘religious texts’ and find an immediate connection to the crowd it caters to. However, the film with its casting and associations catered to a vast audience and ensured universal connotations. It was definitely a factor that takes you aback initially, just because of a shift in the perception of Mahabharata and how we usually associate it with visuals that are implanted in our minds.

The film starts with a little boy, finding his path through enlightened spaces searching for something, when he stumbles upon a Guru. Here on, the narration of the epic begins and the film constantly moves between this epic and the present narration.

The film was highly dramatic with the birth of a rock and the sexual scenes of the people. Parts of the film actually seemed humorous. There were other parts where one finds themselves extremely lost and confused. However the surroundings and the sets completely immersed the viewer in that era and that point in time. The film was lengthy and dark with very few moments of extreme brightness.

All in all, The Mahabharata was intriguing to watch and creates an open mind to the idea of interpretation and representation.

Mahabharata Film Review- Peter Brook

The Mahabharata is an epic from Indian Mythology which portrays families and brothers and also the different phases and facts of life.

Peter Brook’s portrayal of this tale was interesting with relation to the characters that were not indian at all but showed diverse races in the mix.

It showed Human emotions in its rawest form.

Greed was shown blatantly when the dice game takes place between Shakuni and Yusdishthir,the man doesn’t stop when he knows he has lost his wealth, he even bets his brothers as object to be traded and then yet again bets on himself and even on his beloved wife who was supposed to belong to his other brothers as well.

The act of cursing and boons are taken rather seriously and Lives are changed due to certain actions.

One thing I found interesting in this film was that during the sexual acts, there was just people lying near each other and not engaging in a graphic act that most people relate with it,they somehow keep the indian mentality in mind as well,as ,sex is still considered taboo in this country and this would appeal to those senses, so it works in the time it was made for.

Indians may find it hard to relate to the movie as it doesn’t have its own countrymen in it and I think that acts as a disassociation.This is also because it is not just some tale , it is india’s most powerful tale.





Mahabharata by Peter Brooke

Peter Brooke directed a nine hour long play on the Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. It is a great depiction of performance art. The opening shot starts off with a young boy moving through space with “diyas”, creating a mystical atmosphere. Once the space has been explored the play eventually drifts into the narrative of The Mahabharata, being recited to the young boy by a person of the elderly. Throughout the play, there is a constant movement of going back and forth in time periods, from when the story is being narrated until the actual occurrence of events. Peter Brooke’s effectiveness as a theatrical director was evident in the manner in which the dialogues were delivered.  The delivery involved pauses that exhumed a natural progression of the scene encapsulating the reaction of the audience. One of the flaws of the movie in my perspective was the casting for the play. The role of the Indians in the play was sourced out to Caucasians and dark skinned individuals that were of a greater concentration that Indian or Indian-origin actors. These casting decisions made by the casting director took away from the visual authenticity of the representation of the Mahabharata. Though the play was about nine hours long and the production aspect of the play was a great depiction of performance art, yet as the whole the ninety minutes that we saw in class, in my opinion did not do justice to the cultural representation of the epic tale of Mahabharata.

The State of Architecture

The State of Architecture exhibition is organized under the co–curation of Rahul Mehrotra, Ranjit Hoskote and Kaiwan Mehta at the NGMA intended to exhibit the simulate revelations of the current state of architecture in India and the developing phases across time.

The exhibition itself emerges the emphasis of knowledge within its audiences weather they may be architects, students of a creative agenda or a communal individual.

It inculcates a vast agenda of contemporary artwork of architecture along with various conscious questions of curiosity within the young minds of learning with a conscientious effort of relatable context such as info graphics, installations, picture walls and mappings. Various installations inculcate a balance of employment for the viewers to allow them through the guidance of the exhibition itself, for instance the various cube structures installed the to the left of the colossal hallway mimicries cells and the morphs of formation to deformation with the fluidity of character within small images attached with the same cellular guides.

Additionally, the setting of ambient as well as accent lighting instills ideas of the focal curiosity of generic designs over-modulating the genuine structures of architectures.

Mapping various thoughts and practices in a particular space The State of architecture has employed different medias of form and digitization to correspond their philosophies adeptly .

Peter Brooke’s Mahabharata

Peter Brooke was capable of staging a nine-hour production based on an ancient Hindu rhyme of war of the nobles into the universal magnificence of an Indian grandeur. Painting the illustration of the clash between two great empires in the hands of the lords, demonstrating their ethical struggle towards their dogma of their honorable divine truth against the demonized alternative sentiments. Set in the facade of the cosmic primordial forests and galvanizing palaces, inaugurating the monumental epitome known as Mahabharata.

He energies his long persistent yearning to create a universal art, encapsulating Mahabharata as a wholesome veracity by enhancing elements of mankind’s greatest dramas and cordial dilemmas into the cultural unification of Mahabharata being comprehensible to all principles.

Although it sways Indian dances, folk and music it accentuates its compilation to the myths, legends, wars, history and theology of India, It scaffolds various codes of morals, supremacy, benevolence and conspiracy relevant to many nations elevations even in the present.

The production distinguishes itself from various alternating Mahabharata plays by complementing to Brooke’s harmonizing essence of spaces and cliques to cleanse several ambiguous notions depicted through numerous former productions of the Indian folklore poem, Illuminating as well as eclipsing various elements of the play through their ideas of expression. These ideas developed slowly through the performance intensifying the seamless blend of design spaces and directive experimentation of incorporating such intricate renaissance like instances written through the Mahabharata into the slightest spaces provided as decorum.

Concluding with a wonder of the boy’s amazement to the layers and complexities of his family’s history mastered the magical apparatus theatrical cosmoses can form.




State Of Architecture

‘Does Architecture Matter?’

State Of Architecture is a one of a kind three month long exhibition, curated by Rahul Mehrotra, Ranjit Hoskote and Kaiwan Mehta at the NGMA. The exhibition focuses on Architecture in India post Independence, it’s ambition, it’s relevance and the manner in which it is perceived.

The NGMA, by a gallery in itself is difficult to work with, with its half floors and differing ceiling heights, it tends to pose a challenge to general display and circulation through the exhibition space. However, state of architecture, has used the space to its advantage. The visitor enters on the ground floor, where through curvilinear surfaces and statistical data, he/she is completely immersed in the foundation of architecture and this exhibition. One finds themself surrounded by calculated facts and statistics over the years, based on architecture and its development post freedom. The visitor can also interact with magazines on one end of the ground floor, whilst being able to look up at the architectural texts and magazines that have been published over time.

If the fluidity and the articulate graphics on the ground floor weren’t enough, one moves towards the first half floor that covers the first twenty years of architecture post independence. Again, here the timeline was spread across a series of panels with essential information of each built form displayed. There were certain images, larger than others that encompassed the wall in entirety, built forms that were thought as those that created a shift in perception in relation to the Architecture in India. The next floor covers the next twenty years in a similar fashion. Here, one sees an ode to the ‘Vistara’ exhibition from the 80’s, one of the former, government sponsored architectural exhibitions in India.

Each space had customized furniture that blended well with the exhibition itself. Vibrant colors in different shapes and sizes allow the visitor to stop, sit back and take in the ‘architecture’ around them. The visitor climbs on to move to a more familiar understanding of the built form with more recent works and a continuous projection and seating space running through plans and sections of iconic built forms through history. One tends to notice this pattern in the display of timelines, each floor, each timeline having its own way of being read and interpreted, either along a wall, through panels and sections or completely encompassing the visitor as on the ground floor.

As one reaches the top of the NGMA, The Dome, he/she is surrounded by current projects that either have just been developed or are going to be developed. The periphery of this space is lined with origami. These informative foldable cubes, move forward and open up with sensors that now impact the visitor in his/her understanding of architecture today, encompassing our surroundings completely. Suddenly we see no timeline, no way of walking through the space and one can almost feel lost in this labyrinth consisting of panels and openings. The panels have windows that create this visual connection through the space. The visitor then notices the extent of the exhibition and a way of viewing every part of the exhibition.

State Of Architecture held numerous talks from various established architects during these three months and has definitely stirred up an interest amongst many in the field of architecture and what it stands for. Architecture does matter.

The State of Architecture

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The exhibition takes you on a journey through time and spatial dimensions. The circular structure of the NGMA building spirals forward into time as one proceeds into the history of architecture in India, its influences, its causes and its consequences. The manner in which the exhibit was designed was fascinating and enthralling.

To me, the use of colour was the key element in bringing out the structure of the space. Red and yellow walls created a paradigm for the viewer to follow, and at the same time when one stopped to read and look, gave a stationary tactility. The space was designed in such a way to create boxes of thoughts, with a lot of reading material for one to read at their own pace creating a comfort zone for them. The way the exhibition escalated from wide open spaces to walk on the ground floor and slowly shifting to closer, enclosed zones as one moved forward was an interesting transformation. The most intriguing component of the exhibit to me was the origami wall on the third storey. The floor was constructed in a maze-like format, with little windows allowing one to peek from on side to the other.

Hundreds of paper cubes constructed in a way to create a labyrinth, and censors giving this structure life. The movement of people made these cubes cave into the space, reinforcing the concept of how strong a catalyst human presence becomes in collaboration with something as concrete as architecture. The walls of this floor were engulfed in text, raising questions between the relationship of architects, society and the lifestyle they’re making. The entire floor seems to be in a dialogue with the viewer at all levels, giving information, making them aware of their presence and by raising questions in their mind making the overall experience of ones journey through this space not only informative but also reflective.

Peter Brook’s Mahabharata

I happen to be an Indian who is immersed in this greatest of all epics. Was I impressed by Peter Brook’s film? No. Brook’s film is not a portrayal of a titanic clash between the forces of good and evil, which is the stuff of the epic. Nor is it even the depiction of the struggle for Empire that sucks into its whirlwind armies from outside India’s borders, spanning far more than the land between the two rivers Ganga and Yamuna. It is not even a picture of a battle of princes. I truly am confused as to what we really do see in the movie at all. To me It was humbling but extremely conflicted in its approach. I read somewhere that Brook took 10 years to complete this film and do it justice. I was confused as to why he used certain characters to play each of the legends in the Mahabharata. I don’t think the actors did justice to the film and its characters. I was very confused why it was full of people from all races; if it was out to send a message the message wasn’t too clear. What we can appreciate is that people world over are taking interest in our epics and trying to do it justice by using different approaches and its probably our pre conceived notions of how grand a Mahabharata set is supposed to be that probably is my personal bias preventing me from seeing the movie in the lens it is supposed to be viewed with. I think he stayed too confined in a westernized dramatic paradigm to appeal to those audiences; it lacks being a representation of the “unknown orient”.


I never knew that the State of Architecture could be something that could ever interest me, but walking to that exhibit I couldn’t help but want to be part of that culture of architecture. I kept having doubts in my head, some seemed silly some relevant. But to me the main and most important thing was that it got me thinking and that’s something only a successful exhibit can do. Get people thinking about something they might not be completely inclined towards. The space was organized beautifully. The ground level telling us about the statistics that helped in the research, the various books organized in a timeline talking about architecture and forming an archive, as well as the wall filled with magazines of architectures past. The books were kept in a glass enclosure organized as a timeline and giving that space that much importance keeping it enclosed. The magazines were a wall print showing the different kinds also through a different kind of timeline. It gave the wall a whole other dimension and forced our eyes towards it. While current architecture magazines remained under with the physical copies free for read. The 2nd level had some of the important public buildings organized through again another timeline we could walk through while some of the walls had highlighted buildings printed onto them giving us a sense of how important so many structures are in India. What also interested me a great deal are the walls and the typography being color coordinated and color blocked per level, it gave the space a welcoming feel to it and made it pleasing to look through. The specially designed furniture added an insane dimension to the space and something we couldn’t keep our eyes off. But what really stole my heart was the top floor. The wall made of paper folded cubes with information on buildings with the mechanism of opening and shutting was extraordinary. It added a somewhat humble yet oddly overpowering layer to this whole exhibit. I wanted to walk through that whole section innumerable times and just absorb that space in its entirety. What was even better was how it used the space it gave that feeling of being sucked into and cramped and it just consumed us completely.