The Mahabharata | Chicago Reader

The Mahabharata

Peter Brook's nearly three-hour condensation and adaptation of his own nine-hour stage version of the national epic of India, a 100,000-stanza poem in Sanskrit written more than 2,000 years ago. Written by Brook, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Marie-Hélène Estienne, the film features a mode of narration in which past and present, story and storytelling coexist within the same space. Unfortunately, this space is clearly that of a soundstage, and one of the major limitations here, as in earlier film adaptations by Brook of his own stage works, is that the theatrical and often declamatory style of acting never quite jells with the filmic presentation. Although the story has certain “contemporary” movie elements—such as gore, fantasy, and the odd special effect or two—the action sequences are too ceremonial to carry much suspense; the sustaining source of interest is the introduction offered to the original material, which is undeniably fascinating. In the dual role of Ganesha and Krishna, Bruce Myers gives the most striking line readings in an extremely varied (and variable) cast (1989).


Cast information not available at this time.

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