6 Pack Mahabharata July 8, 2008Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Channel Wars, Entertainment, Epics, India.Culture, Mahabharata, Mass Media, Personal, Television, Writing.
Tags: 1st episode analysis of 9 X Mahabharata, 9 X Mahabharat, 9X Mahabharata, Balaji's Mahabharat, Kahani Hamare Mahabharat Ki review, Mahabharat 2008, new Mahabharat
Once upon a time in India there was a family. And the family fell apart. They fought. And there was death and destruction.
Yesterday was supposed to be an epochal moment. The great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’ was making a comeback on prime time television. The new version called ‘Kahani Hamare Mahabharat Ki’ is being helmed by the television behemoth Balaji television; therefore the ‘K’ to bring into play the appropriate gods, goddesses, planets and other celestial beings who supposedly unknown to us play a creative and commercial role in the success or disaster of the said venture.
News channels are going overboard bringing on board the actors and other creatives who were a part of the earlier avatar made in the 80’s…when India was abandoned on Sunday mornings from 9 to 10 in the morning. Can ‘KAMK’ beat B.R.Chopra’s version?
Post the clutter – breaking ‘Ramayan’ launched by NDTV Imagine on prime – time, channel and other creative heads have waken up to the possibility of Indian mythology becoming prime time fodder in opposition to the saas-bahu sagas. The intrigue, scale, grandeur, message, philosophy, love, devotion they say is integral to both our epics and the Indian or Hindu way of life.
Mahabharata in fact is more pan-religious than Ramayan. So 9 X grabbed the opportunity, got hold of Balaji and bingo an epic got recreated in a jiffy. How does it fare? Will it be as eyeball-grabbing as the 80’s version? Will it dent viewer-ship patterns in 9 X’s favour?
The 1st episode is quite a disaster.
I agree, it is too early to pass any judgment. It is in its infancy and there are always teething problems. One can correct, build, develop and improve. Let’s hope so.
1st – The positives – television stars. All the horses of the Balaji stable have been harnessed for this show. The series definitely will have star value. But have they been cast right? That’s a BIG question mark. More on that later.
The series is shot on High-Definition. Although the transmission is still ‘standard definition’ it remains to be seen to whether there is in fact any upping in the visual standard.
It was a straight 30 minute telecast with no breaks…after an eon. Don’t think it will be the norm though.
As of now that is all in the Positives. Some would say clothes designed by Manish Malhotra, but I would still suspend my decision on this. It seems as if the makers got hold of Troy, Spartacus, Ben Hur, Alexander from the shops at Lokhandwala market; films where people wear cloaks and rough ornaments and copied them. That is the extent of research. Peter Brook’s Mahabharata would have been too avant-garde and possibly down-market for them, shorn as it is of all glamour.
Duryodhana, played by Aryan Vaid, has a scorpion tattoo on his arm. Draupadi has a star kind of a tattoo on her chest. All the Pandavas were in the dark, so wait for more such mehendi designs.
This is six-pack Mahabharata. Chiseled bodies who have all arrived from the gym. Anita Hasnandani playing Draupadi is ill-cast. The makers could have dubbed her voice at least so pathetic a scene she cuts raving and ranting during her molestation. There are places where one can sense Anita’s squeaky voice has been tweaked to sound like Roopa Ganguly’s, who played Draupadi in the earlier version.
Aryan Vaid too has been miscast. His voice, demeanour not leaving any mark, unlike the raspy and envious Puneet Issar. Wait, you’ll say, characters grow and this is just the 1st episode. Forget Aryan Vaid, the talented Makrand Deshpande hammed to death in his brief appearance yesterday. And to heighten the drama, to kill it rather – none of the Kauravas – King Dhritarashtra, Elder Beeshma, Guru Drona, Kripa…none of them were shown during the disrobing of Draupadi! Bheeshma’s palm and the blind king’s raised eyeballs were definitely seen. Somebody is trying to be subtle here. Who are the directors of this show with misplaced sense of narrative punctuation and effect?
You might accuse me of suffering from 80’s hangover. But just like my next door neighbour, I too am eagerly waiting for a spectacle and this epic allows you to do that. And when you have the budget, the people, why sell it only by glitter – stars, effects, technology, marketing. Why not actors, effects, narrative, technology?
There are other objections too – the way the episode was hurried through and Anita H’s preposterous performance. Glory, grandeur, gravitas – the 1st episode had none.
But you have the ‘K’ on your side.