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July 23, 2007


hi shunya
i am from india and am looking for a copy of peter brook's mahabharata could you please let me know where i could purchase it pleasseeeee!!

I'll respond on behalf of shunya (my former blogging name). :-) Sorry, I have no idea where to purchase Peter Brook's Mahabharata in India. My cursory web searches turned up fruitless. You can always buy it on Amazon US or UK and have it shipped to India.

Incidentally, I just read that a mega Indian production of the Mahabharata is underway, something along the lines of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. It will be directed by Mani Ratnam and will star the three big Khans of Bollywood and other brand names (see news report, cast). A more recent report however contradicts this, so who knows?

I recognize some of the actors on the cast of Mani Ratnam's proposed project, and some I don't. Vikram, who plays Bhim is one of the unknowns. Is Vikram fat?

The most common miscasting in Indian dramatic renditions of the Mahabharat (I am speaking of amateur, semi-professional theater groups etc.) often involves the character of Bhim, in regards to his physical stature. Bhim's legendary strength is misconstrued as "big and fat." Fair skin loving Indians know that Krishna, Arjun and Draupadi were dark skinned and beautiful. But relatively few seem to realize that Bhim was not FAT. Those who read the epic carefully in an Indian language, know that one of Bhim's many nicknames was Brikodar(a). Translation: "wolf waisted." And wolves have extremely slender and taut waists. That Bhim was not only Herculean in his strength but also very well built in the image of the Greek warrior or the modern day athlete, is amply clear from this moniker. The ancient Indians knew a thing or two about what a truly strong person ought to look like. (This will warm the cockles of Sanjay Garg's heart:-) Being somewhat of a connoisseur of the epic since the age of nine or ten, it used to irritate me no end to watch bulky actors playing Bhim, lumber around clumsily on a creaky stage.

I have a VHS copy of the Peter Brooks production - I think I purchased it from the PBS store and not from a commercial outlet. We watched it a couple of times in the early or mid 1990s. Probably should watch it again. Also, should make some time to re-read Rajshekhar Bose's Bengali prose version of the Mahabharat - absolutely brilliant.

That was an interesting tidbit on Bhima. Dramatizations of literary epics are nothing but interpretations for an audience; they convey beauty or strength in a character by using current ideas of beauty and strength, which might include fair and fat (unless a specific skin color or waist type is materially relevant). Recall that most leading/handsome/strong men of Hindi cinema in the 70s-80s were about 30 pounds flabbier by today's Bollywood standards (same goes for women). South Indian films still value that look (going by posters on city walls), though they too are changing with the times. If the Mahabharata had been dramatized in 17th century Europe, Draupadi would've been pale and Rubenesque. :-)

That said, one can still be irritated with modern interpretations, as you were with the depiction of strength. Likewise, it irritates me that fair skin is so central to the Indian idea of beauty, a standard that makes the majority of Indians simply ineligible! How many "fair skin loving Indians know that Krishna, Arjun and Draupadi were dark skinned and beautiful"? (Italics mine.) I think most Indians (including Mr. Chopra) prefer a fair skinned, even an unnatural blue Krishna, to a dark one.

Dramatizations of literary epics are nothing but interpretations for an audience.

Of course. But I was a part of the audience too. In my mind's eye, Bhim was never FAT.

Is there any place on the net where we can download this Mahabarath movie! After reading all your discussions, i would love to watch it.

hello! where can i download this movie for FREE!!!!!??????? cuz i have a project on this....and i wanna show my class this movie

I think people assume Bhima to be fat because of the gigantic meals he consumed in the Mahabharata. I recall something about an entire cart full of rice, and then he assumed the role of a cook during the Pandavas' exile. This even leads to an inside joke (you have to have read the Mahabharata to understand it) about the worst nightmare for an Indian restaurant with an all-you-can-eat buffet: Bhima walks in with an empty stomach!

The DVD set can now be purchased for under $30. Do a Google shopping search on "Mahabharata" and "DVD," sort by price, and make sure you are looking at the Peter Brooks version. (There is a 16 DVD set from India for $84.99, but it's far longer.)

Hi,I would like to download whole story.Could you please help me in finding the download links.

Peter Brooks Mahabharata DVD set (5hr version) is now available in India. DVD set includes the book "In Search Of Mahabharata" written by Jean Claude Carriere while he was in India. The product is available at all major music retailers, incase you cannot find it, please feel free to mail me at [email protected]

i have not seen this type of movie in my whole life..... i wish govinda could came in the film and said " hum toh bhishma hote kunti tere naino me hum bas jate..." and i wish he would have taken rajpal yadav instead of krishna...the whole shoot in the one place.... and i really inspired from peter brook nw i wanted to bacome a director...

"Birth is obscure and men are like rivers, whose origins are often unknown." One of my favorite lines in this production. I have shown the first reel of the 3-reel VHS set to college students dozens of times over the years, and always am thrilled by the stories, and the actors.

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