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Big Bhishma in Madras: In Search of the Mahabharata with Peter Brook

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AuthorJean-Claude Carrière (Translated from the French by Aruna Vasudev)
Published LanguageEnglish
Publication Year2018
PublisherSpeaking Tiger
Ships By2-3 days
SKU: ST-207 Categories: , , Tag:


‘Where can one find the Mahabharata? The facile answer is “India”.’

A chance comment in 1974 fired Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carrière with the idea of producing a play based on the epic. Together they travelled across India, searching for all possible theatrical forms of the great poem. The result was an epic play—9 hours with two intermissions—later made into a film and a TV series, which has become a landmark in theatre. Another result was this delightful book made from the notes that Carriere jotted down during his travels, whose charm is enhanced by his piquant illustrations that run through the pages.

The ‘sacred frenzy’ of Theyyam in a Kerala village and the intricacies of Kathakali are interwoven with their encounters with the aged Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, a ‘one-in-three saint’, and the legendary Satyajit Ray in Kolkata. Here they also meet Professor P. Lal, who has been working for twenty years on translating the Mahabhararta into English. It is vignettes like these that make their search for the epic into a journey that shows India, through Carrière’s words and sketches, in a way it has never been seen before.

About the author
Jean-Claude Carrière is a legend in cinema and theatre. He has written the script for award-winning films such as Diary of a Chambermaid, Belle de Jour and The Tin Drum. As a playwright, he worked with Peter Brook for 24 years. Their work includes The Tragedy of Carmen, apart from The Mahabharata.Aruna Vasudev (translator) is known in the world of cinema as the director of several film festivals, including Cinefan, the first festival in India to showcase Asian films, and the publisher of Cinemaya, the Asian film quarterly. She has directed and produced several short and documentary films.

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