samskivert: Mahabharata (2)

22 August 2004

A triple-marathon of a film, spanning nearly six hours and pulling no punches as it relentlessly introduced character after character with six and seven syllable names right up to the bitter end. This is the tale of Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Krishna, and four score other characters, many related by blood or what passes for blood given that children are frequently born of multiple wives, or of gods, or in one case, multiple husbands. The Mahabharata is apparently one of the world’s largest texts and after seeing this sprawling film, I can easily believe it. The straight-from-the-stage feeling evoked by the minimal sets, complete lack of special effects and periodic reuse of the actors is at times charming, but more often laughable. None the less, the operatic plot kept me mostly attentive and ensured that just about everyone was dead by the end.

©1999–2015 Michael Bayne