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4-MBH in Media

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4-MBH in Media
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Matters relating to MBH in film and theatre are available in article on the MBH resources website that members need to explore instead of hunting at different places.

The Peter Brook film, and
The Chopra's MBH TV Serial--

Both have been dealt with at length there. The Chopra serial was telecast in full on BBC--so it is wrong to say that it "bombed" abroad. It carried English subtitles throughout and ran for all 93 episodes.

MBH TV Serial on Sony TV -
There is also Sanjay Khan's shorter MBH TV serial that came on Sony TV and was disappointing simply because its dialogues could not provide the insights that Rahi Masoom Reza did for the Chopra version. It had some computer graphics which failed to impress--mostly of Hastinaapur and of the battle-lines drawn up.

Krishna Kathayen -
Ramanand Sagar's "Krishna Kathayen" is covering episodes of the MBH right now on Star Plus on Sundays. It is horrifyingly garish, dripping with sentimentality and fatuous "Bhakti", the actors hamming away to glory and the dialogs utterly puerile and trite.

Draupadee on Sahara TV-
Sahara TV began with an excellent serial "Draupadi" drawing on Pratibha Ray's famous novel "Yajnaseni", but prematurely went off the screen.

Geetaa -
Nitish  Bharadwaj's (Krishn of Mahaabhaarat TV Serial) TV serial on the Geetaa began in outstanding fashion, seeking to show how Krishn's philosophy was an outcome of his life-experiences and went off the screen very quickly, finding no advertisers.

Yuddh ke Baad ki Katha -
Chopra's own coverage of the incidents after the war ["Yuddh ke baad ki katha"] stopped suddenly after he had covered the terrorist attacks of Naag on Pareekshit. Door Darshan without any information just stopped telecasting it.

Mrityunjaya TV Serial -
A serial was planned on Shivaji Sawant's "Mrityunjaya-the death of Karna" but nothing came of it after a pilot episode. Lack of sponsors as usual.

Raavan on ZTV -
Quite a remarkable experiment was seen recently on Zee TV that began televising "Ravana", treating the myth using the Erich von Daniken approach of extra-terrestrials as "Devas" seeking to impose their hegemony here using Braahman to push a caste system, while Raavan is the archetypal rebel who seeks the welfare of all, irrespective of class and caste. The weapons were pseudo-science versions--no miracles, no "Avataar" concept. Suddenly it abandoned that and reverted to the traditional Avataarik treatment of Raam, possibly because no advertisers came forward to support the non-traditional picturization. Such a pity that innovation is at the mercy of advertising!
[Pradip Bhattacharya; Apr 11, 2008]

Kannad Movie-Sri Krishna Garudi
"Sri Krishna Garudi". A black and white Kannad movie which deals with the post war life of the Paandav. In this movie, Bheem and Arjun are shown to become very arrogant and lose their devotion to Krishn. They are then put to test. Bheem has to wrestle with a Python and Arjun has to ride a Wild Horse, but both fail in their mission because they have developed contempt for Krishn, who, according to them, did not have much of a role in the war. Because of their arrogance, they fail in these simple tasks and experience great suffering. However, Nakul and Sahadev are still very humble and come to the rescue of their elder brothers. The Python which is suffocating Bheem is effortlessly removed and dealt with by Sahadev, while Arjun gets lost in a remote place from being unable to control the horse and finally returns wearily to the palace, Nakul controls and tames the horse with great ease.

Mahabharata on StarPlus TV - Some Comments
StarPlus TV has started a serial "Mahabharat". I have not seen it as it is not available in USA, but these are some of the comments --

Creators are maintaining good balance between "opium of the mass" and bold interpretations, particularly about Draupadee ...
(1) liked Draupadee fighting "Naag-snakes" with sword or playing with bow and arrow ... her playing the main role in accepting polyandrous marriage .. her minister-role to Yudhishthir (sadly missing in all previous portrayals .. Chopra, Peter Brook et al) ... her relation with Krishn (very boldly and subtly managed) ... the new actress certainly has talent ... given more role and her effort, she will certainly challenge Mallika Sarabhai and Rupa Ganguly
(2) Karn is nice ... very well-conceived ... Pankaj Dheer is fading away ...
(3) Shakuni deserves special mention ... the prominence given to this character is certainly laudable ... also his and Krishn's mutual admiration for each other's intelligence ... and the comic touch added when the two are in one frame ...
(4) Krishn is very human ... I liked the scene in Indra Prasth, when after Duryodhan leaves angrily being insulted, Krishn's eyeballs move this side and that ... finally meets Draupadee's ... his lips part for a moment and then join again assuming his clam smile ... WONDERFULLY UNIQUE IN ITS SUBTLETY .. THIS IS WHAT I CALL THE 'VOICE OF SILENCE'
That Draupadee did not say "blind man's son ..." but a Daasee ... and Duryodhan thinks it is Draupadee is a well-balanced interpretation ... Draupadee's smile following the Daasee's comment create an ambiguity ... WONDERFUL ...
(5) the use of Shlok ... far better than Chopra ...
"Gaandeevdhaaree Arjun" ... 'Dharme Cha ..' - always ringing in mind ... to be a bit personal ... my daughter would not miss a single episode ... now she knows the story ... keeps asking what would happen next ... as a father, what else could I like more? she is now 8 ... Kanyaa ... fate has given this Mahaabhaarat at this crucial moment ... she has summed up Mahaabhaarat with one comment - "era family-te family-te jhagra korei morlo" (cannot translate ... something like 'these people will die quarreling within the family') my added advantage ... to see how innocence (and ignorance of life) sees Mbh ..
--by Indrajeet
(1) On the positive side, the sets and grandeur shown is worthy of the MBH and is not like Peter Brooks' version which as Pradip Bhattacharya said looks like the " family feud of a rustic landlord" or Ekta Kapoor's weird "Troybharata". Most of the actors have done a good job although its very difficult for the actors playing Bheeshm and Krishn to surpass the stellar performances of Mukesh Khanna and Nitish Bharadwaj . Karn however is too lean and does not look like the warrior who defeated Jaraasandh in wrestling. The tendency to add fresh spunk to the storyline and "give voice to the silences in the original" is good but is sometimes stretched to absurdity like Drupad's aversion to girl children. The actor playing Duryodhan is good but the subtle gray shades in his character are not explored. The scene where Duryodhan calls Karn "Soot-putra" is criminal and something which Duryodhan would never have done. The background track gets too loud sometimes and a "dharmecha arthecha" after every dialogue is irritating. They should also have created more terrific background music to match the various powerful scenes of the MBH. However the best part is that it will at least create some awareness and appreciation of the Great Epic in the " blissfully unaware about history " people.
(2) However I did not like Krishn's role as narrator of the history. Chopra's use of Time as narrator was much more in tune with the Mahabharata.
--Madhu Guptan
What is more irritating is the incidents where Krishna gives these magic blue dices/cubes to Arjun, Draupadee which helps them make the right decisions. Makes it look like everything in life is achieved only through divine magic and not through effort, which is completely contrary to the spirit of the MBH.
several problems that detract from enjoyment:
(1) the mothers are all ageless, as young as the daughters-in-law
(2) Draupadee was named Krishnaa being dark; so is Arjun dark, as is Krishna. If the 3 had been shown in the same frame as of dusky complexion, so also Vyaas, it would register a significant impact.
(3) Shakuni hams all the time -- why the limp and the closing of an eye?
(4) The killing of Shishupaal should have followed the MBH account of a furious chariot duel with plenty of princes siding with him (southern version).
Krishn, Bheem, Arjun came to Jaraasandh shattering hilly walls, in the dead of night, accepted his hospitality. Kaurav were nowhere around during the duel. Why the unnecessary and much less dramatic departure from the original?
--Pradip Bhattacharya


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 04/02/14