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One of the great masterpieces of world literature comes to vivid life in an elaborate production from acclaimed theater and film innovator Peter Brook (Marat/Sade, Lord of the Flies). This collection of ancient Sanskrit stories (composed into the longest book ever written) comprises a series of enlightened fables at the heart of countless beliefs, legends, and teachings; indeed, its very title means "the great story of mankind." Brook and award-winning writer Jean-Claude Carriere worked for eight years to develop this epic concerning two sides of a royal family, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, whose struggle leads to a fascinating voyage of emotions, contradictions, and dreams, filled with subplots which are alternately comic and tragic but always gloriously entertaining.
Famed Royal Shakespeare Company director Peter Brook helms this multinational production of India's greatest epic myth. A seemingly simple tale of two sets of semidivine brothers vying for the throne spirals out to include wider themes of fate, free will, and the problems of behaving dishonorably to preserve the greater good. The film, adapted from Brook's stage production, uses a presentational style, with the epic's narrator slipping in and out of the action and characters stopping to address the camera. The international cast and simple costuming add to the timeless, dreamlike feel of the story. The Mahabharata does an excellent job of reverently presenting a cherished myth without losing the passion and excitement of the story. The DVD edition includes "The Making of The Mahabharata," an interesting look at both the layers of meaning to be found in the story and the challenges in adapting it for a Western audience. --Ali Davis
- "Making The Mahabharata" (55 min.), featuring interviews with the principal cast and crew
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Top customer reviews
I bought this as a birthday present for my husband, after five minutes of watching painful cut after painful cut, we had to turn the film off. I will be returning it ASAP.
I have NO IDEA why the studio did this.
Amazon.com should mark this as an ABRIDGED VERSION.
I can only hope that the studio comes to their senses and released a version of the DVD that is the full 325 minutes, because the VCR tapes I bought 14 years ago are wearing out...
This has nothing to do with the Mahabharata but a friend of mine was in the Catholic seminary and got a perfect score on his greek test but the prof gave him a 99. George complained and the prof said "100 is for God, 99 is for man". OK so off the subject but 4 stars for this movie but 5 for the doctor.
The essence of the story is that the Pandavas and the Kundavas are contending for control of the kingdom after Pandava scion Yudhisthira foolishly gambles away all he owns, including himself, his brothers and his wife. Yet the Pandavas are the good guys. During "The War" segment, they gradually lose the moral high ground, largely at the behest of Krishna, who sees no other way to end the war. The real prize of this story is at the end, when Yudhisthira is given a choice between eternity in paradise or with his family. He makes the right choice. This is a relatively expensive way to own "The Mahabharata" and some myth aficionados will certainly prefer it in print, but I will treasure this DVD forever.
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