Anand CV Mallaya

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Peter Brook’s Mahabharata

In entertainment on October 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Mahabharata is one of the earliest literatures of mankind. It is the story narrating an epic battle between cousin brothers. It has been adopted into the big screen as well as silver screen, both partially as well as entirely, many times. Peter Brook’s Mahabharata is the big screen adaptation, which is interesting mainly due to the intentional use of a multi-ethnic cast and the dramatisation in the presentation. The movie is adopted from the 9 hour stage play by Peter Brook. This was also remade as a TV mini series of 6 hour length.

The Cast

Vyasa – Robert Langton-Lloyd

Lloyd appears as a bearded veteran, Vyasa, the author of the epic itself. He appears as the narrator of the story as he recollects it and tells it to his grandson. He also appears as Lord Ganesha, who is believed to write it down as a poem. The appearance is different than the conventional appearance of a sage like Vyasa in popular media.


Krishna – Bruce Myers

Krishna’s appearance is, again, different from the conventional bohemian image attributed to him throughout the Indian subcontinent. Bruce Myers appears more like a diplomat and a psychologist. Neither he is blue nor dark skinned. He excels as Krishna, the clever strategist’s image, which is also one of the attributed to Krishna’s personality in the epic.

Sotigui Kouyaté as Bhishma

Bhishma, pictured with an African ethnicity, really gives it a fresh experience. Perfecting the role, Sotigui Kouyaté immortalised the grandfather of Mahabharata.

Jeffrey Kissoon as Karna

The dark anti-hero karna, with a scar gifted by fate in his heart, is perfected by Jeffrey Kissoon.

Georges Corraface as Duryodhana

The prince of Dark Triads is depicted as a playboy looking Georges Corraface which is again unlike the popular depictions of the character. Corraface does his best to give Dhuryodhana a prince with a sensitive and complicated mind if not a dark one.

Vittorio Mezzogiorno as Arjuna

Arjuna, the most popular hero of the Epic, is made perfect by Vittorio Mezzogiorno. His eyes speaks focus and his face that of an enlightened and emotionless warrior. Again perfection in the casting.

Andrzej Seweryn as Yudhishthira

Yudhishtira with his innocence and righteousness, but with weaknesses, was portrayed by Andrzej Seweryn.

Mamadou Dioumé as Bhima

Bhima of an African ethnicity was fresh and perfect for the strong man who is the son of wind god and an unbeatable hero of the epic but with a few flaws of the mortals.

Urs Bihler as Dushasana

The Norse warrior looking Dushasana was relived on-screen by the Swiss Urs Bihler

Miriam Goldschmidt as Kunti

Ryszard Cieslak as Dhritarashtra

Mallika Sarabhai as Draupadi

Only Indian among the cast is Mallika Sarabhai who portrays, the beautiful Draupadi, is strong character as well.


Tapasudana as Lord Shiva/Pandu

The Balinese Tapasudana played Shiva and Pandu, probably because of the geographical zone connected to Shiva, the north-east of India, shows the the cleverness and imagination of the script writer. The best and most surprising part of the whole movie.

Overall the epic is narrated in a style which is truly international, showing just to the great epic, without loosing the tempo of an exciting saga. It’s a ‘must watch’ of a classic drama.