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”.

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