About the Book:
The Mahabharata is an Indian epic par excellence which covers practically everything concerned with human life and presents it in a most elaborate manner. But well before it acquired the form of a book, it came down to us through oral and performing traditions. Even after the story was committed to book, the oral and performing traditions continued all over the country in a large variety of forms.
This fascinating history of the Mahabharata in performance in whatever form is the theme of this work.
The performance took many forms during the course of its long history - from simple ballad recitations of grand theatre spectacles. It was depicted through classical Sanskrit theatre, semi-dramatic narrative forms of a popular nature, folk and traditional theatrical performance.
In contemporary times the epic stories are symbolically presented to reflect social, political and ethical concerns of mankind. These are dramatised and staged the world over. The Mahabharata thrills the world audiences by its essentially human themes powerfully presented and visual display. With the advent of electronic media, the Mahabharata has become the theme of films and TV serials.
The book tries to cover all this: from the Vedic dialogue-drama of Pururava to Peter Brook - the Vyasa from the West whose success in universalising the subject has been remarkable - through Bhasa, Kalidasa, Pandavani, Kutiyattam, Terukkuttu, Kathakali, Yakshagana, etc.
About the Author:
Eminent theatre historian and scholar, M.L. Varadpande is known for his research in Indian theatre. He has several books to his credit and writes for most national dailies and theatre-related journals.
His works are: Ancient Indian and Indo-Greek Theatre; The Critique of Indian Theatre (Ed.); Krishna Theatre in India; Religion and Theatre; Invitation to Indian Theatre; Traditions of Indian Theatre; History of Indian Theatre (A six-volume project; Vol. I published, Vol. II in the press).
My maternal grandfather used to tell me stories, stories from the
Mahabharata. I listened to them with rapt attention, fascinated,
devouring every word he uttered.
Later on I came across many other forms of narration of the
Mahabharata. It was told through songs, discourses, puppet shows,
drama performances, films, and even through tableaux and
It was a new experience every time !
One day my son asked me : Father, do you know the Mahabharata
I looked at his eager face, smiled, and started telling him what I knew.
Yes, he must listen and know all about it.
Because, I am sure, his son will also ask him one day the story of
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