Random Friday


On the long weekend of May 1st, I finally found the time to unwrap and watch Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata that I bought, like, 10 years ago in Turin but hadn’t dared watching for its length. Being a TV mini-series, it’s structured in three parts, so I managed to watch the three chunks during the weekend.

Besides the fact that the only Indian actress is Mallika Sarabhai playing Draupadi (and having watched the extras where she explained what the Mahabharata means to Indians and how she made sure no Indian would be ashamed of this work), and that the writer and director stuck to a very teatrical version (it’s based on a stage-play, and in spite of what the director says in the extras, they didn’t really take advantage of the slightly different media – even though it was 1989, the could have had better VFX… 😉 ), I have my own “version” in mind, the abridged, illustrated version of my childhood that was pretty much lost in that version, except for a scene or two.

“Indian Tales”

And even those scenes that reminded me of that old version – take the fight of Bhima with Hidimba… in the movie the exile is with Draupadi, in my book, as you can see from the illustration to the left, the exile is with his brothers (only 2 of them, without the twins present in the movie) and his mother…

Not to mention the international cast feels like watching Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing where Denzel is Keanu’s brother… half-brother… whatever, I doubt Shakespeare had a black man in mind when he wrote it (nothing at all against Denzel, since he’s a wonderful, great, actor, I just thought he was miscast in that movie, but that’s just me! 😉 ).

I also found it quite colorless… definitely not like a Bollywood movie, haha! 😀 And again, it felt like a filmed stage-play, more than a TV-movie or 6-hours-long film.

Now, I understand it’s no easy feat to adapt the epic, since it has so many versions and it’s so convoluted. I’ll probably watch the Indian version that will come out in a couple of years too, regardless of who will be in it, just out of curiosity, but still… I’m not Indian, but I have my own idea of what that story is, so I might be disappointed again! 😉

Have a great weekend! 🙂

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